Vice President Mike Pence, with no sense of irony, called the recent op-ed published in The New York Times by an anonymous Trump administration official, an “assault on democracy,” while simultaneously defending President Donald Trump’s efforts to politicize the Justice Department.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Pence was evasive when asked what specific law the author of the op-ed had violated to prompt calls by the Trump administration for a “national security” investigation.
“Well, we’ll find out,” Pence responded, calling to mind Trump’s own mantra of “Witch Hunt” any time the president tweets about the Russia investigation.
“Political disloyalty is certainly troubling, it’s not illegal,” Wallace responded.
“Well, but there’s another part of it though. Every senior official in any administration takes an oath to the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States vests all executive power in the president of the United States. To have an individual who took that oath literally say that they work every day to frustrate the president, advancing the agenda he was elected to advance, is undemocratic,” Pence said.
“It’s not just deceitful, but it’s really an assault on our democracy. And that person should do the honorable thing—step forward and resign,” he added.
Wallace countered with a Trump tweet from last Monday in which the president criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the indictments of Republican lawmakers Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter ahead of midterm elections. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time,” Trump had tweeted.
“The president is saying, ‘Play politics. Protect members of Congress, even if they have committed acts of corruption, before the election,’” Wallace said.
“No, I don’t think that’s what the president was saying at all, Chris,” Pence argued.
Here are the tweets in question:
“I think the president was referring to the longstanding tradition in the Justice Department to avoid unnecessarily impacting election outcomes,” Pence said.
Pressed further, the vice president said Trump was simply being “candid” with “the American people.”
He described Trump as having “boundless energy,” and he referred to news stories that are critical of the president as belonging to a “parallel universe.”
Wallace then asked Pence if he would agree to take a lie detector test to determine if he was the anonymous op-ed author.
“I would agree to take it in a heartbeat,” Pence said.
“The honorable thing to do here is for this individual to recognize they’re literally violating an oath…not to the president, but to the Constitution…It’s un-American,” he added.
Watch the entire interview: