Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence waits for the start of the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on Oct. 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nev. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

RNC to judge: Pence doesn’t know what he’s talking about

It’s not every day that the Republican National Committee and its presidential ticket go to court to effectively declare, “Don’t worry, our vice presidential nominee has no idea what he’s talking about.”

But yesterday, that’s pretty much what happened. Politico reported:
Mike Pence declared confidently over the summer that the Trump campaign would be working hand-in-glove with the Republican National Committee to prevent voter fraud. Now, in a court filing, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee says he misspoke.

After facing a legal threat from Democrats, Pence and the RNC are disavowing his comments, with both insisting that the RNC has no role whatsoever in the Trump camp’s ballot security operation.
As we discussed last week, the RNC is under a federal court consent decree. Following some brazenly racist voter-suppression efforts in the 1980s, Republican officials are severely limited in engaging in any kind of “ballot-security” election activities, and as far as the RNC is concerned, the party is honoring that consent decree to the letter.

The trouble is, Mike Pence has publicly said the opposite. The Republican vice presidential candidate recently assured voters, “I will tell you that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are working very, very closely with state governments and secretary of states all over the country to ensure ballot integrity.”

In other words, according to Mike Pence, he and the RNC are doing precisely what the RNC is not legally permitted to do. Not surprisingly, Democrats brought this evidence to a federal judge as proof that the RNC isn’t keeping its word – which as far as the DNC is concerned, means the consent decree should be extended several additional years.

So, as Rachel explained on last night’s show, the RNC’s attorneys told the judge yesterday that Pence just made all that stuff up – and the judge certainly shouldn’t consider the governor’s public remarks as evidence, since Pence was just making “incorrect assumptions” about efforts that don’t exist.

This isn’t the first time Pence has been thrown under the bus by his ostensible allies, but that doesn’t negate the embarrassment.

Complicating matters, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told the Washington Post over the summer that the RNC is involved in “ballot-integrity” efforts, prompting the RNC’s attorney to tell the judge that Conway is “mistaken,” too.

It’s quite an operation Republicans are running this year.