Mike Pence: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

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Born on June 7, 1959, Michael Richard Pence (Mike Pence) was the 48th vice president of the United States from 2017 to 2021, serving alongside Donald Trump. 

Pence is also a prominent member of the Republican Party. Prior to his role as vice president, he was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and had a notable tenure as a U.S. House of Representatives member from 2001 to 2013.

Here are some more facts about Mike Pence that may surprise you:

1. He Was The Son Of A War Veteran And “Stepford Wife”

Pence’s dad, Edward, Jr., was a Korean war veteran and stern disciplinarian. “If you lied to him, you’d be taken upstairs, have a conversation, and then he’d whack you with a belt.” He expected children to stand up when they enter the room and not to speak during dinner. Sleeping late on Sunday was not allowed, and church was mandatory. 

His mother was a homemaker. “I guess I became a Republican because my husband was one. I was a Stepford wife,” his mom reportedly said, according to the New Yorker

2. He Has Been Described As “Mayonaisse On Toast”

A Wall Street Journal editorial once described Pence as “about as exciting as a mayonnaise sandwich on toast.”

A solid Republican, Pence didn’t make many waves during his career in politics until January 6, 2021.

Pence has worked in law, media, and public service. He served as a congressman and then Indiana’s governor, prioritizing limited government, tax cuts, education, and infrastructure. Prior to that, he served six terms as the Representative of Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District in Congress. He became Vice President alongside President Trump in 2017.

3. He Had A Special Red Phone For His Wife

Pence met his future wife, Karen Batten, while studying law at Indiana University. They met during a church service where Karen was playing guitar. Their connection grew quickly, and Pence asked her to marry him after eight months of dating, using a creative proposal involving a ring box hidden in a loaf of bread during a walk.

Their relationship was close and they were often seen as inseparable. Pence was known to refer to Karen as “Mother” and they had endearing rituals, such as working out on twin treadmills and using a special antique red phone that only Karen knew the number to.

4. He Follows The “Billy Graham rule,”

Pence and Karen’s marriage has its unique aspects; Pence adheres to the “Billy Graham rule,” never dining alone with another woman or attending events with mixed company and alcohol unless Karen was present. This practice has drawn both support and criticism, with some seeing it as protective of their marriage while others saw it as potentially limiting interactions between Pence and women in professional settings. Despite differing opinions, their relationship remained strong, and they are deeply devoted to each other.

Former senior council in the Trump administration Kellyanne Conway said to the New Yorker. “I’ve been a female top adviser of his for years, and never felt excluded or dismissed. Most wives would appreciate a loyal husband who puts them first. People are trying to bloody and muddy him, but talk about narrow-minded—to judge his marriage!”

5. He Thought About Becoming A Priest

Mike Pence attended Hanover College in Indiana, where he initially contemplated joining the Catholic priesthood or pursuing law school.

 At his father’s suggestion, he chose law school, and during this time, he underwent a significant religious transformation, becoming an evangelical Christian.

In the larger context of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Pence’s conversion aligned with a broader movement within Christianity. 

Pence soon shifted towards the Republican Party, influenced by the conservative ideals propagated by organizations like the Moral Majority and figures like Paul Weyrich. This period marked a significant transition within Christianity, with many believers moving towards conservative political ideologies.

6. He Went Viral Because of a Fly

During the 2020 Vice Presidential debate, Pence was outstaged by a fly that landed on his head while he was speaking. The clip went viral and was one of the most talked about moments of the debate. Before his first presidential primary debate in 2023, Pence joked that he would bring a fly swatter along with him this time.

Maybe it was hidden behind the podium…

7. He Doesn’t Believe Trump Wanted A “Pause” In the Certification

Pence rejects the notion that former President Donald Trump was seeking a mere “pause” in certification of the 2020 election. 

Pence said that Trump and his legal team were explicitly asking for this action and said he lacked the authority to overturn the election.

On the other hand, Trump’s defense attorney, John Lauro, argued that Trump’s intention was not to overturn the election but to pause the vote counts, allowing states to investigate alleged election irregularities. 

Lauro contended that Trump believed an investigation was warranted before certification due to perceived irregularities in the election. 

However, since January 6, 2021, Pence has campaigned for at least 10 Republican candidates who questioned the legitimacy of the election. 

Rachel Emmanuel

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