Great Cop or Great Soldier? Mike Pence will be a Tempting Target for 2020 Democrats

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence was doing just fine from the background. Then a Democrat called him “decent.”

In their search to present themselves as the antidote to the Trump administration, a raft of Democratic presidential hopefuls are targeting Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian as well as comparatively sedate figure who has showcased President Trump’s hard-line policies to the rest of world using a smile.

yet a compliment last month through Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president on the verge of announcing his own candidacy, thrust Mr. Pence into the 2020 conversation.

After Mr. Biden referred to him during a speech as a “decent guy,” several Democrats lined up to say the opposite:

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said in an interview with MSNBC which Mr. Pence was “not an honorable person.”

“This specific’s possibly the case which just because the show has become so mesmerizing, there hasn’t been enough attention for there to be scrutiny on him as well as what he represents,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “yet there’s a nontrivial chance of Pence becoming the president, any day, as well as we should understand what we’re getting there.”

Mr. Buttigieg said which Mr. Pence was a politician “whose views are very much out of the mainstream.” He ticked off issues like gay marriage (Mr. Pence has said he will be opposed to This specific); climate change (Mr. Pence has said the causes of This specific remain to be seen); as well as evolution (Mr. Pence has said God created heaven as well as earth) as policy issues on which the vice president needed to clarify his positions.

Mr. Pence declined to comment publicly, yet a senior administration official familiar with his thinking said he does not plan to take the bait. “He just lets the criticism roll off,” said which official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to not disclose private conversations.

yet Mr. Biden, who will be seen from the White House as Mr. Trump’s most formidable potential 2020 challenger, earned a public rebuke through the vice president.

“Well, look, they’ve got an awfully big field,” Mr. Pence said on Thursday in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” adding which “the way Joe Biden caved in to liberal activists after generating a kind comment for me will be evidence of the pressure which all of their candidates are going to face.”

Still, some observers of the race say the scrutiny of Mr. Pence may continue.

“I’m surprised he hasn’t been from the middle of This specific more,” said Tim Miller, a longtime Republican strategist as well as a “Never Trumper.” “He’s skillfully avoided, to a certain degree, the amount of association he should have with Trump.”

yet Mr. Miller said the backlash to Mr. Biden’s comment also “reinforces what a lot of Republicans might say, which will be the fact which no matter who the Republican nominee or president or vice president might be, the Democrats might demagogue him.”

“For those of us from the LGBT community who deal in facts, we are chilled by recklessly repeated gossip,” Mr. Grenell wrote on Twitter. “Mike Pence will be a humble Christian who loves God, as well as all His creation. I know him. You obviously don’t.”

Mr. Buttigieg, who will be gay, said which he as well as additional Democrats might welcome an explanation through Mr. Pence.

“Until he does,” Mr. Buttigieg said, “I don’t think anybody’s going to be convinced which he’s moderated or become any less extreme.”