I was surprised to learn that one of the only people not
babysitting, er, accompanying Donald Trump on his Magical Mystery Middle East Tour was Vice President Mike Pence.
Now it could be the only norm that this administration has not busted, in making sure that the next in line to the presidency was not on the same flight.
Or it could be that being around a lot of people you've spent the better part of ten plus years demonizing would be highly uncomfortable.
But ironically, it looks like Mike Pence engenders discomfort wherever he is.
This morning was the graduation ceremony for Notre Dame University near South Bend, Indiana. The event's keynote speaker was the former governor of Indiana and current vice president. And several graduates felt that whatever message Pence wanted to give to these students as they head out to the real world wasn't worth hearing.
As soon as Pence approached the podium, a graduate in the front row stood up and turned her back to the vice president. Other graduates soon stood as well but silently filed out of the arena, an estimated 150 students and family members. It turns out they presciently had followed the advice of his speech before he even gave it, urging students to be "to be men and women of integrity and values."
Pence was actually not the first choice for commencement speaker. Earlier this year, students and professors had protested against the planned invitation to President Trump and University president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, begrudgingly relented, although he did warn against intolerance and division.
The 2017 valedictorian Caleb Pine (an Arabic/Peace Studies major) offered his own political statements, telling the graduating class that their "generation must stand against the scapegoating of Muslims." He continued by encouraging the students to fight for "freedom of all religions, not just our own. Otherwise, none of us are free."
Think that made an impact on the
commander of Gilead vice president?