We all had a good laugh about the audacious fly that crawled around on Mike Pence’s sensible haircut during Wednesday night’s debate—but were we actually seeing a demonic manifestation before our very eyes?
Of course we weren’t. But, in what may or may not have been an attempt at a joke, the veteran Republican and anti-Trump strategist Steve Schmidt said that there was something of the occult about the scene.
Appearing on MSNBC’s post-game show after Pence’s debate against Sen. Kamala Harris, Schmidt couldn’t resist discussing the true star of the show: the vice president’s small insect friend. He started off innocuously, with the fair and inarguable statement: “I don’t think it’s ever a good sign when a fly lands on your head for two minutes.”
But then things got a little more, well, fire and brimstone-y. Schmidt went on to say of the fly: “That’s a sign, all through history, of sin. Historically, Biblically. Maybe you wouldn’t normally say this after... It’s only safe to say this, sorry, after midnight... But, you know, a fly—he who commands the fly has always been seen, historically, as a mark of the Devil.”
Host Ari Melber let out a big laugh at that point. Schmidt, however, did not. Perhaps because of that, the MSNBC newsman was led to ask his guest: “Steve, now, as a journalist, now I have to ask for the record, are you joking? Because, uh, the fly could have landed on anyone.”
“But it didn’t,” Schmidt responded sharply. “It landed on Mike Pence, and it says something. Something karmic about the status of the campaign as it implodes. Look, you have a Fox News poll that has Biden up 10 points. Rasmussen’s got Biden up 12. You’re looking 12 to 14 points. The numbers are imploding, the campaign is cratering, it’s falling apart.”
Melber said he was able to confirm those poll figures as being accurate—but that it was beyond the boundaries of his job description as a news anchor to confirm whether or not that a small insect landing on Pence’s snow white hair proves once and for all that he’s in league with the dark lord.
“In my role, on the fact-check—what Steve Schmidt has said about the numbers is true,” said Melber, confidently. “But, what he said about the ultimate moral reckoning of whether the fly connotes evil or the Devil or Nosferatu, is above my pay grade and I cannot confirm it.”
Schmidt reiterated: “Some people are saying, historically, about the fly.” He then, finally, smiled, in the one indication he was not entirely serious.