Pious Candy-Ass Sidewinder

Former Vice President Mike Pence now claims Donald Trump’s “reckless” words on January 6, 2021 endangered” Pence and his family. Some observers found Pence’s words surprising, but this is not a new trajectory for the Indiana Republican, an outspoken Christian.  

Back in August, Pence proclaimed “these attacks on the FBI must stop,” but the words of the former vice president should not be interpreted literally. Nobody is “attacking” the J. Edgar Hoover Building in the style of Antifa rioters in 2020, breaking windows, or launching firebombs. Neither is any investigatory body conducting sudden searches of the building and FBI archives. 

Armed officers are not ransacking the residences of Christopher Wray or any other FBI boss. Key FBI agents have not been subject to summary arrest, held without bail, or kept in jail for months without trial. As Mike Pence should know, the FBI is coming under criticism for dereliction of duty. 

For example, the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation targeted candidate and President Trump. As Julie Kelly recalls, the FBI framed Gen. Michael Flynn, misled the FISA court, doctored correspondence, and used a fake dossier against Trump and his allies. This is all illegal—but from James Comey, Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe on down, nobody in the FBI faced criminal charges. 

Current FBI boss Christopher Wray is all-in with the notion that anyone less than worshipful of Joe Biden is a violent extremist and domestic terrorist. The bureau raids the home of Donald Trump, ripping off his passports and rummaging through Melania’s clothing, yet Mike Pence has a beef with those who dare to criticize the FBI. 

“Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police,” proclaimed Pence back in August. The Indiana Republican must have forgotten how the well-funded FBI performs at its duly appointed tasks.

We protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution,” proclaims the FBI website. On the protection side, the American people might look back at September 11, 2001.

In May of 2001, according to The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, FBI counterterrorism boss Dale Watson had only two people looking at threats from Osama bin Laden. FBI assessments of the potential use of flight training by terrorists and warnings of “radical Middle Easterners attending flight school” were not passed on to FAA headquarters.

The FBI did not produce the kind of intelligence reports other agencies disseminated, and its usual practice was to withhold the information and say little about investigations. FBI field offices “never used the information to gain a systematic or strategic understanding of the nature and extent of al Qaeda fundraising.”

“The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad,” wrote FBI whistleblower Robert Wright in the summer of 2001. “Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.” Mike Pence should know this is true. 

The FBI failed to prevent deadly Islamic terrorist attacks at Fort Hood in 2009, the Boston Marathon in 2013, San Bernardino in 2015, and Orlando in 2016. Despite those high-profile failures, Mike Pence seems happy with the FBI’s ever-increasing budget and wants FBI critics to keep silent. 

A man with a keen sense of biblical morality, Americans might think, would be pressing the FBI for what it knows about the murder of Department of Homeland Security whistleblower Philip Haney in early 2020. The FBI has Haney’s laptop, thumb drives and other materials, yet hasn’t revealed what they contain.

Consider also the case of Seth Rich. In 2016, the DNC staffer was gunned down in Washington, D.C.. Weeks after the murder, as the BBC reported, “Wikileaks published 20,000 emails obtained from Democratic National Committee computers via an anonymous source.” Some observers thought the source might be Seth Rich.

The FBI showed no interest in the basic questions of  motive, means, and opportunity but quickly latched onto Rich’s laptop. Four years later in 2020, the bureau admitted possession of the computer and with the murder of Rich still unsolved, the FBI wants to delay any release of the material until 2088, a proxy for “never.” 

Instead of pressuring the FBI to solve the murder and release the material, devout Christian Mike Pence attacks critics of the FBI. Instead of moral advocacy for victims of FBI stagecraft and lawlessness, Mike Pence targets Donald Trump and casts himself as a victim. 

Steve Bannon has called Mike Pence a “mindless, gutless symp,” but that might not cover it.  The Indiana Republican brings to mind the Reverend Johnson (Liam Dunn) in “Blazing Saddles.” When a vicious gang aims to take over Rock Ridge, Rev. Johnson proclaims “I’m leaving.” The rustic Gabby Johnson (Claude Ennis Starrett Jr.) denounces the “pious candy-ass sidewinder.” 

That fits the pious Pence, who now joins the January 6 gang and calls out Trump, the president he served. Trump is known for colorful phrases but this time he might break open the Bible and quote Matthew 10:36: “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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