The power struggle between populist hardliners and moderate generals in the Trump White House is well documented. Vice President Mike Pence has largely stayed out of the drama, while quietly becoming one of the most powerful people in the Trump administration, according to a new profile of Pence from the New Yorker's Jane Mayer.
Mayer's piece shows that behind the scenes, the vice president has made a huge mark on President Trump's policy agenda, while putting himself in a good position for his own presidential ambitions. Mayer writes that Pence's influence has shaped White House policies far more than that of other important members of the administration, including Breitbart executive chair Steve Bannon or Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. In particular, Pence's longstanding connection to libertarian megadonors Charles and David Koch — former political enemies of Trump — has helped shape the current White House.
Pence and Trump are two very different men. Pence is a devout evangelical who doesn't dine alone with other women unless his wife is present. He made his name in conservative politics as a talk radio host and enacted hardline policies during his time as Indiana's governor, mandating burials for fetuses and essentially allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people. Trump is a bombastic billionaire who famously bragged about groping women and publicly espoused pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriageviews. Mayer's piece includes moments where Trump mocked Pence's socially conservative views and his tendency to pray in the White House.
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We read the whole profile; these are the key takeaways about the influence of the former Indiana governor and cultural warrior.