For critics of President Donald Trump’s administration and supporters of former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the image was all too ironic: Clinton on a plane, looking down with apparent interest at a copy of USA Today, with the news of Vice President Mike Pence’s use of a personal email splashed across the top banner.
Given Pence and Trump’s withering criticism throughout the campaign of Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, the picture struck a chord with many liberal supporters.
The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Vice President Pence used a private AOL account to discuss sensitive information related to his job when he was governor of Indiana, and that his account was hacked last year.
The Associated Press later reported that when he was governor, Pence delayed and denied public records requests that would have included emails from his AOL account. The information only came to light under his successor, fellow Republican Eric Holcomb.
However, Pence has said there is “no comparison” between his use of email and Clinton, who was investigated by the FBI and deemed to have been “extremely careless” but not criminal in her actions, per the Wall Street Journal.
“There's no comparison whatsoever between Hillary Clinton's practice — having a private server, mishandling classified information, destroying emails when they were requested by the Congress,” Pence told reporters Friday, per The Hill.
Pence also said he and his team “fully complied with all of Indiana's laws.”
Some have claimed Clinton is not actually looking at the Pence story in the photo posted, saying she is instead looking past it at the schedule held by an aide in the next seat.
However, others claimed the irony of the situation went even deeper, saying the book in Clinton’s lap is “Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue,” by Victoria Thompson. That book is part of the “Gaslight Mystery” series by Thompson. The term “gaslighting” became a political flashpoint in December after a fiery editorial released in Teen Vogue claimed “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America.”