9 VPs Have 'Assumed' the Presidency. What If He's 10?

Jane Mayer takes a long look at Mike Pence for the 'New Yorker'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2017 12:53 PM CDT
9 VPs Have 'Assumed' the Presidency. What If He's 10?
Vice President Mike Pence speaks on behalf of Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie during a campaign rally at the Washington County Fairgrounds Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Abingdon, Va. Establishment figure Gillespie is in a neck-and-neck race against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.   (Andre Teague/The Bristol Herald-Courier via AP)

Of the 48 men to have served as vice president of the United States, nine have "assumed the presidency" due to death or a resignation, observes Jane Mayer in what Axios reports is a 16-page New Yorker piece on the current VP. Of the likelihood that Mike Pence could become No. 10, Mayer gives him "long but not prohibitive" odds. So what would a President Pence be like? Though Pence declined to be interviewed, Mayer talks to his mother, brother, Steve Bannon, politicians (including Dan Quayle!), a pardoned Indiana man, and a slew of others with opinions about and experiences with Pence. She traces his personal life, his early failed political campaigns, the jobs that followed, his ties to the Koch brothers, his tenure as governor, and how he ended up where he is today. The title of her piece? "The Danger of President Pence."

Mayer paints a picture of an evangelical Christian with a seemingly unwavering ideology and strong ambitions who has stepped in it when those two haven't aligned. His brother describes his partnering with Trump as a real gamble. "If he lost, he had no money, and he had three kids in college." But while the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., saw the matchup as odd—"the one thing you could count on with Pence was interpersonal decency, which made it strange that he joined ... the most indecent ticket any party's ever put together"—he says Pence had a 50-50 chance "at best" of getting reelected as governor. Now he's in the White House, with a "devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan." This though Trump has reportedly mocked him. Per Mayer: "When [a White House] conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, 'Don't ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!" Read her full piece. (Read more Mike Pence stories.)

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