Former U.S. Vice President Says He Doesn't Know What Mike Pence Is Doing in the White House, All He Does Is Stand Behind Trump

In a scathing assessment of the current White House, former Vice President Walter Mondale has branded President Donald Trump a liar who does not understand U.S. law or the constitution, while Vice President Mike Pence merely stands behind his boss and does nothing.

Mondale, now 91, made the comments during an appearance on The Al Franken Podcast with former Democratic Senator Al Franken, who resigned in 2018 after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.

The former vice president—who served in the office for four years under President Jimmy Carter—told Franken that the Trump administration is undermining national unity.

"He lies all the time, it doesn't seem to bother him. He lies several times a day," Mondale said about the president. "He has this thing about dividing people, splitting the country up, getting people fighting. That seems to be what he wants to do every day, and he's getting it done. And we're all paying the price for it."

The former vice president also suggested that if Trump "wanted to be a successful public leader, he would do just the opposite—he'd try to pull us together." Lamenting the president's divisive approach, Mondale said: "I don't get it."

"I will never accept his model as either being successful or worthy of success. It never should be attributed or accepted as morally acceptable," Mondale added.

Pence, too, is failing to reach the standard expected by Mondale, a veteran political figure who also served Minnesota as an attorney general and senator as well as President Bill Clinton as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Pence is a notable survivor of the tumultuous Trump administration. Staff turnover in the first two years of this administration has been higher than any recent administration, but Pence has quietly and loyally weathered the storm.

Regardless, Mondale suggested the vice president is near anonymous within the administration. "Pence is in the White House, what he is doing I don't know," Mondale said. "I keep telling them not to just stand behind the president. Go out and do your own thing and help the president, but don't think you only have the chore of standing to attention when the president talks."

"Look at this guy, [at] all he does," he added. "What's he thinking? What is he doing?"

Discussing specific policy points, Mondale told Franken that the American public would be paying for the Trump administration's decisions for generations. For example, Mondale described the major tax cut package passed in 2017—his one major legislative success to date—as a "typical right-wing Republican pay off to the rich." Such policy, Mondale said, represents "gross immorality."

A key element of the legislation was cutting corporation tax from 35 percent to 21 percent, providing a significant boon to American businesses. It also cut individual tax rates, doubled the standard deduction and dropped the top individual tax rate.

Trump and his supporters vowed that the tax cuts would help the middle class, but analysis of its effects indicate it has not translated into more cash in the pockets of normal Americans. Instead, large corporations and the richest members of society have been the beneficiaries.

The tax-cut package has also contributed to a ballooning U.S. deficit, which under Trump is on course to break $1 trillion by 2020. The New York Times noted that tax revenues for 2018 and 2019 were $430 billion less than predicted by the budget office before the tax bill was passed.

"We're talking about a trillion dollars next year," Mondale said. "This society is going to be paying off debt for eons."

Mondale also suggested Trump's knowledge of the U.S. political system and constitution is badly lacking. This, combined with his erratic style and reported lack of ideological integrity, has resulted in a chaotic administration.

"One of the things that really offends me about the current president—I don't think he knows a thing about [the constitution] or wants to know a thing about it," Mondale said.

"He is breaking all the rules. He doesn't ever ponder about what he said two minutes before. He started all this tweet stuff that is new to him. Just think, running our country maybe from his bedroom?"

Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Walter Mondale
Vice President Mike Pence looks on as President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House August 5, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images/Getty