Pence blew a question on the identity of the Trump official who penned a scathing anonymous op-ed — then blew it again when he tried to 'clarify.'
Vice President Mike Pence threw suspicion on his own staff over the bombshell op-ed by an anonymous senior Trump official — then managed to make things worse when he was given a chance to "clarify."
On Sunday, both Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway made multiple television appearances to defend Trump's hunt for the writer.
But on CBS News' "Face the Nation," Pence blew his answer to a basic question about the writer's identity from host Margaret Brennan — then blew it again when he tried to "clarify."
"You don't think anyone on your staff — since they're calling themselves a Trump appointee — had anything to do with this?" Brennan asked.
"I just, I wouldn't know," Pence stammered. "And I would — I really would hope not."
Perhaps realizing how badly he had screwed up, at the end of the interview Pence asked Brennan to turn the cameras back on for a do-over.
"Mr. Vice President, I asked you earlier if anyone on your staff wrote this op-ed," she said. "Have you asked your staff?"
"Well, I thought you were speaking about the administration staff," Pence replied. "I'm 100 percent confident that no one on the vice president's staff was involved in this anonymous editorial."
"And you asked them?" Brennan pressed.
"Well you know, honestly, I don't have to ask them, because I know them," Pence said.
Pence's answer didn't just refocus suspicion on himself and his staff — it also made clear that Pence doesn't take the hunt for the mystery official nearly as seriously as Trump does.
Pence and his staff were the subjects of intense speculation due to the writer's use of the word "lodestar." Pence has a long history of using that word in public statements and in his writing. Pence was quick to change the subject when Chris Wallace pointed this out in another interview Sunday.
Trump has called for a Department of Justice investigation of the op-ed writer, despite the fact that even his own advisers can't name any crime that writer may have committed.
You can bet that if Pence hasn't asked his staff whether they were involved in the op-ed, someone soon will.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.