Pence should resign as Trump's VP
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Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Majority of voters say federal officials staying at Trump hotels is a conflict of interest Trump names finalists for national security adviser MORE (R) is a principled and honorable conservative, a serious man and devout American patriot who is now the running mate of a presidential nominee who presents a clear and present danger to the security of America.


Pence should publicly state that for reasons of patriotism, national security and conscience, he can no longer serve as running mate to Donald Trump. This is not a partisan column. On the limited but vital issues I raise here, Republican and conservative leaders in the United States and throughout the democratic world, from the 1940s until this morning's news, would overwhelmingly and virtually unanimously agree with my points here about why Trump poses a clear and present danger to our national security. So, too, would the overwhelming number — it'd be almost virtually unanimous — of military and intelligence leaders in the U.S., our NATO allies in Europe and throughout the rest of democratic world.

Recently, Trump told The New York Times that if Russia invaded our Baltic NATO allies, he might not use the full force and power of the United States to rise to the defense of democracy and freedom in Europe. In Trump's view, America should only defend Europe from a Russian invasion if Europe's defense spending met his standards. If not, Trump would permit Russia under Putin to conquer Europe.

This week, Trump publicly gave his support and encouragement to what most intelligence and security experts believe are Russian covert espionage programs designed to influence and, if possible, determine the outcome of the American presidential election.

This week, Trump also repeated his support for torture, which would be a war crime under international law and has been opposed by every president since George Washington. Trump went even further and said he wanted to change the Geneva Conventions to allow torture, a view that would be aggressively opposed by every leader of every nation throughout the free world whether they come from the left or right.

In recent months, Trump has taken a position of appeasement toward aggressive and illegal actions by Russia under Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea and destabilize Ukraine.

On most of these issues, Pence — to his great credit — has already publicly stated his opposition to Trump's views, often with clarity and strength as matters of high principle and national security.

Can Pence be a party to the election of a president who has had kind word for current-day dictators like North Korea's Kim Jong-un and retweets the words of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whose actions promoted the crimes that gave rise to the treaty that formed NATO in the first place — a treaty which Trump would violate so casually today?

Does Pence want to be part of an administration whose president has repeatedly supported policies that violate core principles of American security, from endangering our allies to committing war crimes in ways that strike horror in the hearts of American commanders — even after a growing number of former intelligence officials and commanders have publicly stated that if a President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE gave the order to commit torture, they would flat-out refuse to execute orders they consider illegal and dangerous to American troops?

Throughout this campaign, Trump has tried to fan the flames of fear and bigotry against Muslims — using rhetoric so destructive to American interests and so dangerous to the safety of American troops that retired Gen. and former CIA Director David Petraeus has risen to publicly condemn politicians who promote such views.

Does Pence want to help elect, and work for a president, whom leading lights in national security — those who have spent lifetimes risking their lives to defend America from despots and terrorists — believe gives aid, comfort and support to dictators and terrorists who threaten our nation?

The views I express here have been held from the 1940s until today by conservative and Republican presidents and prime ministers throughout the U.S. and Europe —  by conservative statesmen from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher — and by military and intelligence leaders in every democratic nation throughout the world.

Can Pence believe that Trump is right and all of them are wrong? No, Pence does not agree with Trump — he agrees with them! Should he stand up for his principles or be an accessory to the destruction of them?

Should Pence make himself complicit in the election of a president whose views are so abhorrent to conservative as well as liberal leaders throughout the democratic world, and so abhorrent to generals and admirals in every branch of the military service in every nation throughout the free world? I think not.

Does Pence want to spend the rest of this campaign, and potentially the next four years, being asked to defend or repudiate views and actions by Trump that have been anathema to leaders of the democratic world, and to military and intelligence leaders who for generations have risked their lives, limbs and at times careers to protect America and the free world from the evils Trump either sympathizes with or makes much more likely by his presence as nominee or election as president?

I think not.

If he continues his service in the campaign to give Trump the powers of the presidency, Pence should be asked these things with persistence, and in detail.

It would be far better if Mike Pence, in the service of patriotism and high honor, in the service of the conservatism he espouses and the national security he has vowed to protect, in the service of the cause of freedom and safety for citizens in America and free nations everywhere, says simply: "I cannot defend the dangers that a Donald Trump presidency would bring, and must resign as the nominee for vice president in a campaign I cannot as a matter of conscience serve."

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

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