Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, are in a solid and loving marriage, but for some reason, this has become a topic to mock and ridicule across social media today. It is a marriage full of old-fashioned values, one that works well for Vice President Pence and his wife. Some social media users who were not pleased with the mocking of Pence’s marriage took it upon themselves to make a comparison of Mike Pence to the behaviors of former Vice President Joe Biden when it comes women.
A recent article about Mike Pence was published in the Washington Post, and it talks about Pence having guidelines in his marriage that he and his wife had set together. These guidelines have now been misconstrued by some in the news and social media to make it look as though Pence won’t welcome women into his staffing positions.
The majority of this article was centered on the strong marriage that Mike and Karen Pence share, and it also points out how close these two are to each other. Little tidbits, like the two once having matching treadmills set up in the governor’s mansion when Pence was Indiana’s governor were offered in this article. It also talked about Pence riding a bike around D.C. for approximately 250 miles altogether when running his first of three campaigns for a seat in the House.
While riding all those miles day after day, Karen was with him most of the time. His wife once purchased a red phone that was installed in the governor’s mansion in Indiana and she was the only one with that phone number. Even now when cell phones are the easiest way to gain instant communication to someone, that red phone is set up in his new office, mostly for a reminder of their relationship. It was also divulged that he refers to Karen as “mother,” which is a term of endearment for the woman who is the mom to his kids.
While these quips on Pence’s marriage were talked about in the article, it was something that Pence first brought up 15 years ago that was mentioned in the article, and it’s causing all the hoopla today. He was asked about some of the policies he has within his marriage that keeps his marriage so solid.
A couple of those policies set the online world on fire, as people started reading things into Pence’s statements that were the polar opposite of what he meant. Pence mentioned that he wouldn’t have dinner alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife. That set some social media users into a full conspiracy theory mode. As Fox and Friends discussed on Friday morning, somehow this dinner statement morphed into worries that he wouldn’t hire female staff for important positions because of his policy against being alone with another woman.
BBC News asks if Mike Pence’s dining habits should be considered chivalrous or sexist? His policy of not having dinner with a woman alone unless it is his wife has taken on an entirely new meaning for some today. This was just one of the comments that set some in the online world down the wrong path, with people not willing to see this as only a precaution taken within Pence’s marriage.
Pence also stressed how he will not go to an event that is serving alcohol unless his wife is with him. Many suggested that this must be the end result of something that had already happened within his marriage. With some suggesting it was a rule he put into place as a safeguard so whatever happened wouldn’t happen again. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Mike and Karen Pence enjoy this solid relationship because of the guidelines they’ve followed throughout their marriage, and these guidelines are not the result of an event that has already taken place. These were put in place to keep him away from any temptations that may have come along through the years.
Pence has been in politics a long time and has most likely seen his share of marriages crumble over a bad decision leading to infidelity. This is a man who doesn’t wear blinders while going through life; he sees things for what they really are.
It is not a new concept that people cheat on their spouses and this could happen after a liquor-fueled evening of socializing without their spouse by their side. So to make sure he never falls victim to an alcohol fueled mistake, he avoids these situations altogether.
This has nothing to do with him not trusting himself; he is also aware of how rumors spin so quickly out of nothing. Mike and Karen Pence care enough about their marriage to have the insight to set up these guidelines to live by.
As BBC News reports, Mike Pence once said in an interview with the Hill back in 2002, “If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me.”
Although Pence first said this 15 years ago, he still lives by the rules today.
Some of the comments spinning Pence’s marriage guidelines into a sexist issue are seen below.
“If Pence won’t eat with a woman alone, how could a woman be Chief of Staff, or lawyer, campaign manager, or…” which was a comment from Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffrey.
“The problem w/ this Pence/meal thing is that it suggests that every interaction w/ a woman is potentially a sexual thing,” was seen in a tweet.
When explaining why he put the rules in place in that 2001 interview, he said, “It’s about building a zone around your marriage… I don’t think it’s a predatory town, (Washington D.C.) but I think you can inadvertently send the wrong message by being in [certain] situations.”
BBC News reached out to Pence’s press secretary, Marc Lotter, to ask if these guidelines are still something Mike Pence practices.
Lotter said, “I think you are taking this entirely out of context. He set a standard to ensure a strong marriage when he first came to DC as a congressman, clearly that worked.”
Vice President Mike Pence's marriage is different, some might see it as weird. Check out full article and decide https://t.co/1t1ZVQP2KG— Jeudy (@JDizzle_M) March 30, 2017
Mike Pence is not the only one in D.C. who cares enough about his relationship to follow some common sense behaviors. A survey among male members of Congress from back in 2015 discovered there were “several” who will not “meet or drive one-on-one with their female staff,” according to the Atlantic.
While some see Pence’s guidelines as negative, others applauded both Mike and Karen Pence for having such a strong commitment to their marriage. Positive comments were plentiful and some of them appear below at the end of the article.
A couple of social media users referred to some of the behaviors that former Vice President Biden had displayed in the past. They posted these tweets to make a point. They compared Pence’s thoughts on women to what has been observed with Joe Biden during his two terms as vice president. These pictures are enough to curl your toes. Who can forget the look on Stephanie Carter’s face when Joe Biden had that hands-on thing going during the swearing-in of her husband, Ash Carter? According to an archived article from NPR, Joe Biden “got a little too close to new Secretary of Defense’s wife.”
It's sad that Mike Pence doesn't know how to behave within a marriage without being all creepy. He should take some lessons from Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/YUXlXnAfbN— Male Feminist (@Warden_AoS) March 30, 2017
Joe Biden never had to make weird rules about dining with women. Maybe it's because, unlike Mike Pence, he knew he could control himself. pic.twitter.com/N43XQnCgep— Male Feminist (@Warden_AoS) March 30, 2017
Then there was the time that Biden kissed the elderly wife of a senator on the lips, which was also another viral picture online a few years back. That picture is seen below in a tweet.
EWW! Creepy Joe Biden Kisses Senator's Elderly Wife ON THE LIPS! (VIDEO) https://t.co/G48uB7qXvh— Ben Owen, HRK (@hrkbenowen) January 4, 2017
Comments defending Pence’s marriage policies were also posted online. There were actually plenty of remarks backing Pence across the social media sites, like the ones below.
“He’s a smart man who understands that infidelity is something that threatens every marriage and must be guarded against,” wrote a senior editor for the Federalist.
Atlantic senior editor David Frum wrote, “You can criticize Mike Pence if you agree never to believe a rumor about a politician sighted with an aide of the opposite sex.”
[Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]