Pence’s balancing act as Trump’s No. 2 shows signs of strain amid WH turmoil – Washington Post
The back-to-back rounds of testimony were merely the latest signs of a presidency in the grip of tumult. But flying down to Houston that morning for an astronaut event, Pence didn’t seem to have a care in the world.
His staff had decorated the middle cabin of Air Force Two with a festive tableau of balloons and streamers, and greeted him with a warbling rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
“What are you all doing?” the vice president asked with a smile, opening his arms wide and taking in the scene with a combination of faux-surprise and subdued delight. “This is out of control.”
Donald Trump’s administration did seem to be spiraling out of control, but Pence was — literally and figuratively — 1,400 miles away from the maelstrom in Washington, projecting his de facto stance of serene confidence or willful oblivion, depending on one’s perspective.
Such is life for Pence, who has earned his boss’s support and confidence one laudatory and skim-milk utterance at a time. On Monday, when the president held his first full Cabinet meeting, Pence set the tone by describing working for Trump as “the greatest privilege of my life” — setting off an avalanche of obsequiousness as the remaining officials took turns lavishing praise on their leader.
But Pence’s political balance-beam routine is showing signs of strain, according to a portrait of the vice president culled from interviews with 17 aides, advisers, friends, allies and Republican operatives. The vice president himself declined requests for an interview.