Marc Short made one of the most consequential visits to “Meet the Press” in years yesterday. Very few noticed because Short (surely intentionally) used dry language meant to dampen what he was actually saying. From the GOP’s perspective, it’s a good thing that he did, because had Short come right out and said what he was really saying, the GOP would be dealing with an all-out war between “Pence World” and “Trump World.”
How else would one describe a situation where, in an organization where it’s GOP dogma that the election was “rigged,” everyone in Pence’s camp largely agrees that the election was a normal, fairly tight fight that they lost fair and square, nothing rigged about it?
Parse through the technicalities in what Short actually said on Meet the Press and simply reach the same conclusion. You will see the ammo available to “Pence World.” Short said that, yes, the Pence camp had some concerns about what happened in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin, BUT:
The campaign had opportunities to bring that evidence up until Dec. 14 and didn’t. And so I think at this point you have to assume that he was duly elected and the reality is that there was not enough significant fraud that was presented that would have overturned any of those states’ elections.”
If you really look at those two sentences, Short told the national audience that the election wasn’t “rigged” in any way. And of course, this came after Short had already told Chuck Todd that Trump was dead wrong about what the VP could and could not do on January 6th:
“And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election, but President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.”
There’s nothing in the 12th Amendment or the Electoral Count Act that would afford a vice president that authority. It’s why no vice president in 200 years has ever used that authority, and it’s certainly not one that I think conservatives or Republicans would want Kamala Harris the ability to say she’s going to reject votes from Texas or Wyoming or any other state heading into 2024.”
Bringing up Kamala Harris is what makes it art. The MAGAs hate Harris (for all the reasons one might suspect) and by pointing out that it would sure suck if Vice President Harris rejected Texas’s votes (or Florida’s, or Ohio’s) in 2024, Short not only makes Trump look stupid, he makes Trump look small. NOTHING makes Trump angrier than looking “weak,” which is exactly where he stands if he’s arguing that VP Harris does have the right to toss out a state’s votes.
Short didn’t have to deliver his message in such technical and dry language. He didn’t have to blame a lot of it on Trump getting “bad advice.” He could easily have come out and said, “President Trump is wrong and tried to put a good man in danger. The election was not rigged or we would have proven something before December 14th and we/they didn’t prove a thing. They got shut out everywhere, which means the election was tough but fair, it wasn’t rigged. Trump is just obsessed. Now we have Trump out making an argument that Vice President Harris can and should toss out votes from states that she finds suspect in 2024. The man is killing the party.”
It is essentially the same message, just a bit more “direct.”
As we move closer and closer to the possibility of Pence being subpoenaed, even more evidence coming out from the Select Committee and as the Republican party moves closer and closer to open war (Trump already calls McConnell “Old Crow”) look for Short and perhaps Pence drop big legal bombs about what Trump did behind the scenes. And, consider the possibility that the biggest bomb of all is not testimony about Trump’s criminality behind the scenes, no – consider the possibility that the easiest and quickest way for Pence to win his battle with Trump is to just say that the election wasn’t rigged and anyone saying it was is just deranged.
WATCH: Former President Trump "got a lot of bad advice," former Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence @marctshort says.
"Unfortunately the president had many bad advisers who were basically snake-oil salesmen." pic.twitter.com/9zpenebQT6
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 6, 2022
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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