“It’s been fun.”
That’s how Donald Trump described his run as president, according to a new memoir by his former vice president, Mike Pence, excerpted in The Wall Street Journal.
Pence opened up about some of the conversations he had with Trump during their final days in the White House together, and the excerpt is quite an illuminating glimpse into their contentious relationship — that is, if you take everything Pence has to say at face value.
The former vice president certainly presents himself as the hero of this story, as one would expect him to do in his own memoir.
Take this instance where he told off his lead Secret Service agent, Timothy Giebels, during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion:
“I told my detail that I wasn’t leaving my post. Mr. Giebels pleaded for us to leave. The rioters had reached our floor. I pointed my finger at his chest and said, ‘You’re not hearing me, I’m not leaving! I’m not giving those people the sight of a 16-car motorcade speeding away from the Capitol.'”
As much fun as it is trying to envision Mike Pence as the action movie hero, the majority of the excerpt does read like someone who’s trying to justify or defend his Jan. 6 actions.
When Pence wasn’t writing defensively, however, he provided some incredible glimpses into the assuredly unique relationship he shares with Trump.
“I met with the president on Jan. 11,” the former vice president wrote. “He looked tired, and his voice seemed fainter than usual. ‘How are you?’ he began. ‘How are Karen and Charlotte?’ I replied tersely that we were fine and told him that they had been at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He responded with a hint of regret, ‘I just learned that.’ He then asked, ‘Were you scared?’
“‘No,’ I replied, ‘I was angry. You and I had our differences that day, Mr. President, and seeing those people tearing up the Capitol infuriated me.'”
Unsurprisingly, Pence made sure to highlight the fundamental differences he and Trump had over all things Jan. 6.
One of the more curious tidbits he shared appeared to be a moment of contrition and self-reflection from Trump. Even the most die-hard Trump supporters have to admit that contrition and self-reflection are not the former president’s strongest suits.
“With genuine sadness in his voice, the president mused: ‘What if we hadn’t had the rally? What if they hadn’t gone to the Capitol?’ Then he said, ‘It’s too terrible to end like this.'”
But perhaps the most illuminating part of Pence’s memoir excerpt was the conversation the two shared during their final few days together as president and vice president.
“On Jan. 14, the day after President Trump was impeached for the second time, I stopped by the Oval Office,” Pence wrote, according to The Wall Street Journal’s excerpt. “The night before, he had unequivocally denounced the violence at the Capitol and called for calm and national unity. I congratulated him on his address. ‘I knew you’d like it,’ he said. He seemed discouraged, so I reminded him that I was praying for him.
“‘Don’t bother,’ he said.
“As I stood to leave, he said, ‘It’s been fun.’
“‘A privilege, Mr. President,’ I answered.
“‘Yeah, with you.’
“Walking toward the door leading the hallway, I paused, looked the president in the eye, and said, ‘I guess we will just have to disagree on two things.’
“I referred to our disagreement about Jan. 6 and then said, ‘I’m also never gonna stop praying for you.’
“He smiled: ‘That’s right — don’t ever change.'”
As to what’s next for the former president and vice president, many are expecting Trump to announce a bid for the 2024 presidency.
Pence’s plans are not nearly as clear, though based on his verbose memoir, he might very well have a career as an author.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.