Trump VP Mike Pence Took $100,000 From The Tobacco Industry—The Reason Why Is Disgusting
Donald Trump Picked A Yes Man Once Willing To Claim ‘Smoking Doesn’t Kill’
The worst kept secret in politics is now official as Republican Donald Trump has chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate in the 2016 presidential election. While the choice of Pence helps Trump shore up support with conservatives in the GOP, the laundry list of despicable policies supported by the governor will not do him much good with independents. In fact, some of his past statements are so laughably awful they are hard to believe an even semi-rational human being would make them. Case in point: Pence once claimed ‘smoking doesn’t kill’.
No, really. He did. And not like sixty years ago when people could claim they didn’t know the dangers of smoking and Pence wasn’t actually born. He did it around 2000. As ThinkProgress points out, that’s quite a few years after the 1964 Surgeon General report that confirmed the link between smoking and a shorter period of breathing oxygen on planet earth, sometimes referred to as dying. But Pence is clearly another Republican that wants no part of actual science. Pence’s idiotic statement from his editorial:
Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.
The reality, according to the American Cancer Society, is that tobacco kills over six million people per year globally and that is expected to rise to eight million by 2030. But hey, it was just hysteria from those brainy intellectuals who think they know everything with their math, and their facts, and their science, and their fancy beakers with steaming stuff in them, and the ability to not be complete tools for wealthy special interests trying to sell you cancer.
So, why did he make this utterly preposterous claim that smoking doesn’t kill? Money, money, money, money…muh-ney!
ThinkProgress additionally notes Mike Pence received more than $100,000 from the tobacco industry during his political career. And with those donations, he’s carried out the industry’s wishes and made the health of the people in his state much worse off for it:
According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “Funding for Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation was down to $8 million per year when Pence took office in January 2013. And within his first week, the Pence administration slashed the agency’s budget to $5 million.”
Indiana now has the highest adult smoking rates of any state in the industrial midwest region and the seventh highest smoking rate in the nation. With among the lowest tobacco taxes of any state, public health experts warn the state is “really in bad shape.” Indeed a 2014 article noted that 17 percent of pregnant women smoke — nearly double the national average — and this has been linked to lower birth weights and higher rates of infant mortality. As a result, it noted, “the state spends $28 million a year on health costs for infants born to mothers who smoke.”
In short, the tobacco industry has lined Pence’s campaign pockets and Pence has returned the favor by running up health care costs in his state with terrible policies. No matter what the harmful policy is against women or anyone else whose best interest he is supposed to look out for, Mike Pence is willing to carry it out for the right price.
It looks like Donald Trump has found the perfect running mate for himself. Someone he can get to make any maniacally stupid statement by just paying them enough. Just flash those dollars in front of Mike Pence and he’ll say anything. Wonder how long it will take for him to support Trump’s ban on Muslims…
Featured image by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.
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