The White House, historically the residence of U.S. presidents, has witnessed its fair share of idiosyncrasies, from Lyndon B. Johnson’s peculiar attachment to his own surname to Calvin Coolidge’s fondness for coating his head in petroleum jelly.
But how do today’s U.S. leaders measure up? Donald Trump, reportedly driven by a long-standing fear of poisoning, famously favored McDonald’s and KFC. Now, shifting the focus to Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, it appears they follow suit.
Before delving into Mike’s distinctive views, let’s revisit a simpler time when he was a conservative radio host, self-dubbed “Rush Limbaugh on Decaf.” In 1999, he authored an op-ed suggesting that Disney’s Mulan could influence attitudes about women in combat, a viewpoint that certainly stands out among U.S. politicians. Given this, let’s explore how these unusual perspectives extend into his marriage.
1. Faithfulness to the Extreme: In a bid to avoid any hint of impropriety, Mike Pence, according to an interview with The Hill, refrains from having meals alone with women and even declines female aides when working late, a practice known as the “Billy Graham Rule.” Critics argue that these views are linked to Pence’s stance on LGBT issues.
2. Alcohol Abstinence with Karen: Due to his religious beliefs, Pence abstains from events featuring alcohol unless his wife, Karen, is present. This goes beyond the norm of abstaining from alcohol due to faith, even among evangelical Christians.
3. A Proposal with a Twist: When proposing to Karen, Mike eschewed the typical dinner setting. Instead, he placed an engagement ring in a hollowed-out loaf of bread, a creative departure from the conventional proposal.
4. Karen’s Previous Marriage: While Karen’s first marriage ended in divorce, it’s worth noting that her split from her first husband was amicable, a common occurrence for many young couples.
5. Karen Pence’s Role and Influence: Although Karen doesn’t directly engage in policy, her presence alongside Mike is notable. Referred to as the “silent, omnipresent partner,” she holds considerable influence, evident in her involvement in various events and trips alongside the vice president.
6. Mike’s Unique “Batphone”: Karen gifted Mike a phone with a direct line to her, a symbol of their enduring connection. This antique red phone serves as a reminder of their strong bond.
7. The Pence Towel Charm Venture: Karen launched a business called “That’s My Towel!” to address the issue of misplaced towels. Though it didn’t gain significant traction, it reflects a modern response to a common problem.
8. A Unique Engagement Tradition: Karen purchased a gold cross engraved with “Yes” and kept it in her purse, ready to give Mike when he proposed. This non-traditional approach reflects their distinctive dynamic.
9. Pet Names and a Dinner Mishap: During a dinner with democratic leaders, Pence referred to Karen as “Mother,” causing an awkward moment. This wasn’t an isolated incident, as he repeated the term, creating a memorable, if uncomfortable, evening.
In the realm of political partnerships, the Pences certainly stand out for their unique quirks and customs. These distinctive practices offer a window into their strong bond and shared values.