Vice President Mike Pence tends to stay quiet when it comes to the myriad lies told by President Donald Trump, and when he does offer a response, it is either to defend or dismiss whatever the president has said.
But Pence did not always approach the office of president this way; rather, the former conservative radio host argued that presidents should be held to the highest moral standard.
Pence made the argument in two columns in the late 1990s, where he wrote that then-President Bill Clinton's admission of an affair with a White House intern and prior lies to the public about the matter, possibly under oath, meant Clinton should be removed from office.
Yet Pence also moved beyond the specifics of the Clinton case: He made a far-reaching argument about the importance of morality and integrity to the office of the presidency.
Pence made his argument in two columns — "The Two Schools of Thought on Clinton” and "Why Clinton Must Resign or Be Impeached” — though at the time, neither received national attention.
Dismissing the idea that the president is "just the like the rest of us," Pence wrote, "If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous.
"Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms."
What a difference 25 years and obtaining political power can make. Pence appears to have abandoned his previous line of thought for the chance to enact his political agenda.
Trump stands accused by numerous women of sexual assault, and at least two claim to have been paid to stay quiet about affairs they had with the president shortly after the birth of his youngest son.
Though such incidents are alleged to have occurred prior to Trump’s election to office, the president has been caught in several lies regarding his knowledge of events surrounding them — as well as other significant events, like his son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between his son Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was "a meeting to get information on an opponent." It was the most direct admission yet of the true intent of the meeting and also an acknowledgement that Trump Jr.'s initial explanation for the meeting -- that its primary purpose was to discuss adoptions - was grossly misleading. That explanation came in a statement that was dictated by the President.
In one of his columns about Clinton, Pence wrote, "Further, the Presidents (sic) repeated lies to the American people in this matter compound the case against him as they demonstrate his failure to protect the institution of the presidency as the 'inspiring supreme symbol of all that is highest in our American ideals.'"