One of the more disturbing effects of the Trump presidency—besides all the other disturbing effects of the Trump presidency—is the way it occasionally makes Vice President Mike Pence seem like a competent and compassionate leader, simply by achieving the bare minimum asked of a modern politician. Case in point: the praise the former Indiana governor and Mother-lover has been getting this week, after making some appearances in hurricane-ravaged Houston in which he actually bothered to meet with flood victims, and helped to clear a photo op’s worth of debris. (Even though we half-suspect he was mostly there to indulge some secret Noah’s ark tourism fantasies.)
Pence—who somehow managed to handle the rubble without first getting the OK from his wife, or checking whether any of the people he’d be helping were involved in same-sex relationships that might violate his religious beliefs—stood in contrast to his boss, Donald Trump, whose time in Houston was typically focused on himself (and, occasionally, a big truck). Former San Antonio mayor (and Obama cabinet member) Julian Castro used Pence’s appearances as a chance to throw some back-handed shade at Trump’s people skills on CNN today, praising Pence’s “human touch,” while noting “We’ve seen now, on several occasions, whether it’s this or Charlottesville, President Trump just cannot find it within himself to be centered around others, to be a true public servant. It’s always about him.”
Trump took heat last week for his conduct during the early days of Hurricane Harvey, fixating on tweeting about voting results and his own “triumphs,” rather than expressing sympathy or help for the people affected by the storm.