EDITORIAL: America, haven’t we been here before?

Neglect of Pence’s use of private email shows double standards


It is usually President Donald J. Trump who comes under the scrutiny of the spotlight from media, and although there has been recent news about Trump tweeting out claims that former President Barack Obama ordered Trump’s phones to be tapped, Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence’s headline-worthy news seem to be even more prominent.

Because of emails being released to the press, it was discovered that Pence had been using his own private email account when managing business during his time as governor of Indiana. It was reported that the contents of his email included sensitive matters such as homeland security, also including inquiries about investigations on vandalism, requests to promote op-eds that advocated for the barring of Syrian refugees from settling in the state and even topics about responses to terror attacks around the world. The media was not able to determine how often Pence used his private AOL email account over the one the state assigned to him, but after being confronted with the release of information, Pence’s response was to joke that the most embarrassing aspect of this information is that now Americans would be made aware of the fact that Pence was one of the few people who still had an AOL account.

One of the first obvious questions relayed to Pence was whether or not he felt sympathy for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose failure to win the 2016 presidential election is often credited to her private email server, which Wikileaks launched a “searchable archive” for. But Pence responded that the situations were entirely different because of Pence’s former position as governor compared to Clinton’s former position as secretary of state. This is problematic.

For Pence to have previously been a part of a campaign that ran heavily upon the slogan to “Lock her up!” when referring to Clinton and her use of a private email server while he was guilty of something so similar is so hypocritical that it is hard to process. And Pence is right — the two circumstances are not the same.

A lot of the uproar surrounding Clinton’s Wikileaks had to do with how closely her administration was ensuring that her public image was kept in tact, and did not specifically reveal much about the candidate herself. Clinton was investigated and was not prosecuted. Meanwhile, Pence has claimed that there was nothing classified in his emails. This does not make sense as some of the emails were not disclosed because “the state (considered) them confidential and too sensitive to release to the public.” The most upsetting part of this ordeal is that Pence’s email has been hacked in the past. Last year, the person who hacked Pence’s AOL account had sent out emails to many people stating that Pence had been robbed in the Philippines and was in need of money. Pence was never investigated for this, and for him to be able to joke about this while an extremely similar situation had ruined the election chances for Clinton is unfair, if not anything else.

The conversation that is important to have here is surrounding this question: What would happen if this fact had been discovered during the election? Would it have even made a difference? Pence may not have created his own server as Clinton did, but what he did what wrong, regardless. Double standards seem to be prominent in this conversation, as it seems as though this news would not have hurt Pence’s campaign. Look at the consequences now: Without any investigation, this seems to be yet another piece of recent news that is brushed under the table with Trump's administration. The general public jokes that this should be expected from the two, but if this is the new norm, then America needs to consider if it's lowering its standards for the people who are in charge.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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