SOUTH BEND - History will be kinder to Mike Pence than to Donald Trump.
     
In new vindictive attacks on Pence, Trump clarifies for us and for history that he wanted Pence, his loyal vice president, to overturn the election. Not just delay certification for more recounts of recounts to satisfy the nation that election results were valid. He wanted the valid results, certified by all the states, to be overturned so he could stay in the White House.
      
Loyalty goes only so far.
     
For Trump, loyalty goes nowhere in terms of reciprocation.  He calls now for an investigation of why Pence would not reject the Electoral College results. Lock him up?
     
Pence wouldn’t because he couldn’t. He had no constitutional power to throw out the certified election results. And loyalty to Trump ended when the demand was to forget the Constitution and the facts and create chaos to enable Trump to hang onto power. 
     
In a statement blasting Pence, Trump acknowledges his goal and reason for unrelenting pressure on Pence, even inciting mobs to attack the Capitol as they shouted: “Hang Mike Pence.”
    
Trump declared, punctuated with an exclamation point, that Pence “could have overturned the Election!”
     
That’s what Trump wanted, sought.
     
Pence already was certain of favorable treatment in history for his principled stand, following the Constitution rather than Rudy Giuliani. Now, he looks better and better.  The extent of pressure on him becomes clearer. The stakes involved are clarified by investigations of the Jan. 6 insurrection and now are defined by Trump himself.
     
Historians and presidential scholars looking back in 10 years, 20 years or maybe not that long, with more information and with perspective on the ramifications, are not likely to be very kind to Trump.
     
Historians long have listed James Buchanan as the worst of our presidents. He served just before Abraham Lincoln and was blamed for bringing on the Civil War. The pro-slavery politician failed to tone down hostilities. He didn’t try.
     
Where will Trump rank? He compares himself to Lincoln. Historians could evaluate him as in a race with Buchanan.
     
If Pence was running for president 10 years from now, he might well have a real chance. But he plans to run in 2024. That is his time. A difficult time.
     
Although he will look good in history, Pence can’t now effectively campaign all-out on that.
     
While Trump’s act, antics and threats wear thin with many Republicans, he retains a strong base of Trumpsters that could control party nominations.
     
Trump’s vengeful attitude toward anyone who wouldn’t fight to keep him as president, by hook or by crook, means he never will support Pence for anything. But Pence would like at least to tone down the vitriol from Trump. He has no chance for the presidential nomination without a sizeable portion of Trump base voters. Some might remember his long, loyal support of Trump, even if Trump doesn’t.
     
So, Pence has to avoid blasting back at Trump. Still, he wants the truth about Jan. 6 pressures and purposes to be known.
     
That’s why, even though Pence doesn’t want to testify before the committee investigating Jan. 6, where truthful answers would infuriate Trump, he hasn’t sought to keep members of his political team from talking with the committee and providing documents. Marc Short, his former vice-presidential chief of staff, testified privately in response to a subpoena. He was with Pence when Trump exerted pressure in a White House meeting and during the storming of the Capitol.
     
Committee documentation of the truth could help Pence with voters concerned about the effort to overturn the election.
     
Even if Pence has little or no chance for president, he wants the truth known for his place in history, a place growing higher as Trump’s place sinks lower.

Colwell is a South Bend Tribune columnist.