Pence Praised The Carrier Union Leader In The Past

Everything about the Donald Trump transition seems to be growing more predictable by the day. Trump gets criticized and he lashes out. He did it with Boeing, he did it with CNN, and now he's done it with the union representative for the Carrier plant where some jobs were saved from moving to Mexico. On Wednesday Trump tweeted, "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!" Trump's criticism wasn't surprising. But equally unsurprising is the fact that Mike Pence has actually said nice things about Jones in the past. It's not the first time he's been the calmer and more collected of the pair.

Back in March vice president-elect Pence tweeted support for the same union leader that Trump disparaged Wednesday. He even included a photo of himself with Jones and the other people from United Steelworkers 1999, writing, "Appreciate the chance to meet w/ Chuck Jones & hardworking men of Local 1999 about our efforts to save Carrier jobs." That sure sounds at odds with Trump's assertion that "if United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues."

Being governor of Indiana, Pence has been working to keep jobs in his state since long before Trump won the presidency in November. He did so mostly with tax cuts — lowering the corporate rate in the state gradually to what will be the second-lowest in the country. But he's also done it with the same type of incentives that ultimately kept the Carrier jobs in the state (whether his deals have been worth it is another matter).

So in other words, Pence has a less abrasive stance, whereas Trump seems to be attacking a local union leader from his perch in Trump Tower. This is not the first time Pence's views seem a bit more plausible — and contradictory to Trump's own remarks. And while there's always the chance that Pence's opinion of Jones has evolved to match that of Trump, it's not likely.

And this isn't the first time the two have displayed separate viewpoints. During Pence's debate performance, for example, he contradicted Trump a number of times. He advocated for criminal justice reform, minimizing the spread of nuclear weapons, criticized Vladimir Putin, and advocated for force in Syria — all of which directly contradict Trump's well established points of view.

What will be curious is to see how Pence continues this going forward. If they're smart, they'll let this Carrier controversy fizzle out, but there will surely be other disagreements during the Trump Administration. And if it's about something as serious as nuclear weapons, I hope Pence does stick to his guns. Even if Trump decides to attack him on Twitter.