We found it, folks: the place Mike Pence's engagement begins and ends.
Pence joined a meeting in front of the press with President Donald Trump, and Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. The discussion eventually devolved to threats of a government shutdown if Trump's border wall isn't funded to a full $5 billion.
The bickering went on for several minutes, even as Pelosi urged the others to wait until they were away from the press. Trump, predictably, forged ahead anyway.
"If we don't get what we want one way or another... I will shut down the government," Trump said, according to Vox's Tara Golshan. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. Because the people of this country don't want criminals and people who have lots of problems -- and drugs -- pouring into our country. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it."
Oh, there's more. I mean, look at this bickering:
TRUMP: Well, we had the lowest unemployment that we've had in 50 years.
SCHUMER: [motioning for Trump to stop talking] Okay.
PELOSI: Sixty people of the Republican Party are losing their offices now because of the transition.
TRUMP: [Talking over Pelosi] And we've gained in the Senate. Nancy. We've gained in the Senate. Excuse me. Did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.
SCHUMER: [Turning to reporters] When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he's in real trouble.
Meanwhile, Pence is sitting there, looking like he's nodding off, as the other leaders of the country negotiate the future of immigration, border security, the United States's standing in the world, and a potential government shut down. Don't be fooled. This wasn't "stoicism." And sure, it's easy to write this off as "ha ha, look at old Pencey, falling asleep, looking like an Elf on the Shelf. He's just like all of us bored as hell during a staff meeting."
In the end, Schumer and Trump trade pointless barbs, speaking over Pelosi, while Pence couldn't look any less interested in anything. We can bet this wouldn't be the case if this conversation concerned millions of other people's fates -- namely LGBTQ children who don't want to be subjected to conversion therapy, or couples who don't want their marriage licenses suddenly revoked. How about the millions of queer folks across the country who have zero guarantee of right to work without facing discrimination? What if their rights were up for debate among these four? Maybe he'd be wide awake for that, ready to push his administration even further into hostile policies.
You may be reading this and thinking, "All right liberal, stand down. This is a stretch, and you're reading way too much into this." But I urge you to think about what the next two -- and potentially six -- years of a Trump presidency will look like, where the rights of millions amount to little more than juvenile barbs, and ignored pleas for the adults in charge to just be civil. There's certainly no way LGBTQ+ voters see the current composition of Congress and the White House and can hope for positive change. But this? I don't think this is what the Rainbow Wave had in mind either.