MERRILLVILLE  – What is it with Vice President Mike Pence, who embraces evangelicalism and portrays himself as being holier than thou? Through 20 months of the Donald Trump presidency, Pence has been the tail wagged by the dog.

Whatever Trump says or does, Pence is the first to extol his virtues or be conspicuously quiet.

Even though he is a fellow Hoosier, Pence no longer should be given a pass. For example:

Why is it that Pence said nothing when Trump called his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico “an incredible unsung success” although his negligence contributed to the deaths of almost 3,000 people?

And, where was Pence when it was learned that Trump bought the silence of two women with whom he had extramarital affairs, a porn star and Playboy model? What has Pence had to say about Trump’s morality and his poor treatment of women?

Pence calls Trump a “great” leader, but refuses to criticize him for coddling up to the leaders of America’s two greatest enemies, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un?

And why is it that Trump refuses to criticize Russia for interfering in the 2016 election while all U.S. intelligence agencies have blamed Russia? How about that, Mike?

And why is it that Pence is silent when Trump repeatedly accuses the U.S. news media of printing “fake news?” And, has Pence ever intervened when Trump said Sen. John McCain wasn’t a war hero?

And, when Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord on global warming, why didn’t Pence speak up and say that might be a mistake?

And has Pence ever criticized Trump for attempting to use the U.S. Justice Department as his personal law firm?

Has Pence ever vocalized a concern that it may be wrong to still use the term “crooked Hillary” almost two years after the election?

And why  is it that Pence – who is a noted fiscal conservative – never has accused Trump of potentially weakening the economy by hiking the national debt through a massive tax cut for the wealthy?

And why is it that Pence hasn’t called out Trump for lying to the American public on a daily basis?

All I can figure is that Pence doesn’t care. He just wants to hold onto Trump’s base to help him become the nation’s next president, whenever that might be. 

Rich James has been writing about politics and government for almost 40 years. He is retired from the Post-Tribune, a newspaper born in Gary.