Curt Smith: Trump’s time has passed; we need Pence

Curt SmithCall me a Hoosier homer, but I’m backing Mike Pence for president in 2024. Some will say it is about time I rejected former President Donald Trump, but my decision is not about clearing my conscience as an evangelical voter. It has everything to do with my views on where the country must head in the future.

As a proud Republican, I backed Trump in 2016 after my preferred candidates dropped out, first U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and then U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas after the decisive Indiana primary. I enthusiastically backed Trump after he picked Pence as his running mate and proposed a policy platform that confirmed his conservative governing bona fides.

The hot mess that is Donald Trump certainly took away from his effectiveness as president, but the policy achievements of the Trump-Pence administration remain stellar. I like my former presidents to be like Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (when he’s not talking policy or politics).

On that score, Trump gets a solid B grade as president. If he had tamed his Twitter account and stayed out of the White House briefing room during the COVID updates, he would have earned a solid A.

He fostered a super-strong economy, by which I mean best employment numbers ever at good and growing wages with low inflation. The nation achieved energy independence as an early dividend of his deregulation push. A strong military was made stronger, and those efforts are making the difference today against Russia in its war against Ukraine. He clarified that China is an adversary, not a market to be mastered. Perhaps best of all, he appointed 300 Constitution-following jurists to the federal judiciary, including three U.S. Supreme Court justices.

But he could not accept the loss of November 2020. His actions since then, but especially on Jan. 6, 2021, during the riot at the Capitol, disqualify him from future office. The list goes on and on, including complicating Republican chances in the Georgia special election in 2021 that tipped control of the U.S. Senate, endless lawsuits about long-settled issues (including suing CNN cable news network for defamation) and stashing an astonishing amount of highly classified information at his Mar-a-Lago home and resort.

As someone who has held a top-secret clearance twice in my career, this last one is more than a head scratcher. It defies explanation.

Compare this with Mike Pence. He faithfully served in Congress, as our state governor and then as America’s 48th vice president. He honored and fulfilled his oath, which I understand will be a major theme of his forthcoming memoir, “So Help Me God.”

He was and is (and so we can likely conclude will be) an honest, articulate, passionate champion of limited government, strong markets, secure borders and effective national security. And he has a wonderful sense of humor, especially about himself.

Some of my evangelical friends, such as Washington Post columnist Mike Gerson, say we must renounce Trump and do penance. I say he was useful for his time, shaking up the Washington, D.C., establishment. Let’s move on and do Pence, I say.

The presidency is too important to be subsumed by an aggrieved occupant bent on vindication. Richard Nixon taught us that. And it is clear that if Trump were again president, he would settle old scores before taking on new challenges.

Those challenges are real, such as global insecurity aggravated by Russia’s nuclear warfare threats and worldwide economic fragility fueled by COVID, war, recession and more.

We need a president for this new reality who will focus on leadership, not personal ego needs. Trump’s time has passed; we need Pence now.•

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Smith is chairman of the Indiana Family Institute and author of “Deicide: Why Eliminating The Deity is Destroying America.” Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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8 thoughts on “Curt Smith: Trump’s time has passed; we need Pence

  1. Where does somebody like Jefferson Davis fall on your grading scale? What’s a little bit of insurrection between follow party members? Adding an estimated 600,000 EXTRA deaths from COVID only drops Trump one letter grade?!? You also must have missed his Russian aligned policy along with the fact for 4 year we had no foreign policy, or it was, it was to trash our relationships with the rest of the world, and manufacture the Afghan crisis for the new president.

    As for Pence, I can see how you think a malleable Christian Nationalist would be a good leader for Republicans.

    1. Well said Dan. Also don’t forget 5 people lost
      their lives as a direct result of Trump’s insurrection. Over 140 injured and countless lives destroyed.

      Trump inherited a great economy from Obama and added $7.8 trillion to the deficit propping up the stock market. Trump is the only POTUS to lose jobs in his presidency in forever. Dems are more fiscally conservative and their policies benefit all people.

      The GOP and Democracy is being destroyed by Trump.

      Inflation and oil prices are global and the result of COVID and Russia along with the wasteful spending of Trump.

      Pence is another GOP that fuels the conservative religious beliefs that only benefit evangelicals. 65% of the country is pro-choice. Separate church and state like the founding fathers established. All these conservative judges aren’t following the constitution and like I said they don’t represent the majority.

      Quit catering to the NRA. There’s over 300 million guns and 20 million assault weapons. Over 65% of the IS wants stricter gun legislation byte 2nd amendment calls for a well-regulated militia.

      And the GOP constantly complains but either voted against good policies and never has any policies they offer to fix the problems.

    2. here are a couple case studies on trump disorder syndrome.

      Your precious democrats have done what to fix anything? everything is as bad as it has ever been. the government cannot fix your problems.

    3. Mark B Please show me exactly where this is in the US Constitution!

      “Separate church and state like the founding fathers established.”

    1. How is Donald Trump any different from the other politicians in the United States.

      They are all either Ego Maniacs, Narcissist, liars, cowards, thieves, deceptive and corrupt or a combination there of!

      Which Politicians Should Christians Support?

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