At some point in our lives, we all have tried to ingratiate ourselves with the people we really wanted to impress. So, it's no surprise that such reported flattery is also taking place at the White House where, according to an Axios report on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence makes fun of himself to make Donald Trump happy.
Axios' Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan reported that Pence has his own strategy to stay in the president's good books, including poking fun at himself and saying that he's poorer than Trump. One of his reported jokes is to say he's from the "Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing." Joseph A. Bank, a popular retail line, is mainly known for its low-priced apparel for men. For Trump — who wears a lot of tailored Brioni suits — he likely thinks that the clothing company with heavy discounts (and its appeal among people with tight budgets) is beneath his caliber.
Another reported strategy deployed by the vice president is to remain on Trump's good side when both are on air. The report said that Pence treats Trump with such respect that it "makes many cringe but delights the Big Man." Pence's silence and "deference" is a success, per Axios, as Trump would have never enjoyed competition with his vice president.
In addition to say he's poorer than Trump and keeping a polite face on during interviews, the report says that Pence has his very own team that is "loyal" to the vice president. This unspecified team "keeps their heads down and mouths shut." As a result, the vice president is reportedly content — and out of trouble.
The report arrives after Axios highlighted Trump's reported "fury" against Pence's decision to select Jon Lerner as national security adviser. The publication reported later that Lerner, who is United Nations Secretary Nikki Haley's deputy, has already withdrawn his name for nomination.
This context is important as Trump is rarely — if ever — unhappy with Pence. In fact, body language experts have studied the dynamic between both men and said that Trump's frequent leaning-in toward Pence indicates a strong friendship.
If you want visual and audio proof of Pence's reverence for Trump, you might want to check out a clip shared by Talking Points Memo journalist Josh Marshall. In the video from 2017, you can hear Pence express his passionate gratitude for an elbow-crossed Trump several times. In fact, The Washington Post reported that Pence praised Trump once every 12 seconds in his three-minute-long speech.
New York Magazine compiled a list of the compliments Pence showered on Trump. The vice president praised Trump's articulation and thanked him for his "agenda that truly is restoring this country," his administration that apparently "restored American credibility on the world stage," for signing "more bills rolling back federal red tape than any president" in the United States, and for "unleashing American energy."
But that's not all. Pence also praised Trump for apparently getting the Congress to work and added, "Mostly, Mr. President, I’ll end where I began and just tell you, I want to thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America."
The vice president's strategy to keep Trump happy seems to be working, according to the Axios report. Thanks to Pence's rumored tiptoeing around his boss, the report says that the vice president has won Trump's trust — especially when it comes to critical national security and foreign policy issues. Like "high-stakes" trips to North Korea and Israel.