The Slatest

Mike Pence Might Not Be That Smart

Mike Pence in New York City on Saturday.

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

When it became clear that Donald Trump was seriously considering picking Mike Pence as his vice presidential nominee, Slate’s Jim Newell noted that Pence is seemingly pretty bad at thinking on his feet, which could present serious gaffe problems given that the Indiana governor, as Trump’s running mate, will be constantly getting asked to respond to the insane and offensive things that Trump says constantly. Newell’s conclusion about Pence’s brainpower was based on observation of the Indiana governor’s recent appearances in the national spotlight, but BuzzFeed has also unearthed an older document that perhaps more than any other piece of evidence demonstrates that ol’ Pencington may not be working with a full deck. It’s an essay about cigarettes that Pence apparently wrote sometime in 2001, when he was a congressman. An excerpt:

Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.

Let’s review, with a little rewording, the assertions that Pence makes in those three sentences:

  • 1 out of every 3 smokers dies from smoking.
  • No one dies from smoking.

Solid. Let’s definitely put this guy a heartbeat away from the presidency.