Ivanka Was The First Trump To Wish Mike Pence A Happy Birthday

by Monica Hunter-Hart
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Last year, Mike Pence celebrated his birthday by flying on a balloon-filled Air Force Two and attending a NASA event complete with a space cake. It doesn't seem like this year's celebration will be quite as eventful, but he's at least starting off the day brightly with a message from the first daughter. Ivanka Trump wrote Mike Pence a birthday tweet that called him an "exemplary leader."

"Happy Birthday to our @VP Mike Pence!" she wrote. "It is an honor to serve with such an exemplary leader. Cheers!"

Public birthday messages between members of presidential administrations are nice, but not necessarily expected. Thursday was the first time that Trump had wished the vice president a happy birthday on Twitter. Pence has never posted about her birthday from his official White House account or personal account.

Trump was the first member of her family to publicly wish Pence a happy birthday. The president had not posted about the occasion as of this writing, though he had tweeted seven times about other matters, including his pardoning of Alice Johnson and the upcoming meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. It seems unlikely that Donald Trump will comment on Pence's birthday; he did not do so last year.

Pence turned 59 on Thursday. Last year, he performed his normal vice presidential duties on his birthday but still managed to fit in some celebrating. He flew to Houston on Air Force Two to participate in a ceremony at NASA's Johnson Space Center and welcome in a dozen new astronauts. The crew of the jet covered it in balloons in Pence's honor; Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was also in attendance, said that Air Force Two was "decked out to celebrate."

Pence appreciated the festive atmosphere. "Fun way to start a birthday," he tweeted out. "Thanks team for decorating AFII!"

But the real fun happened when he got to the NASA center in Houston. As he explained in a speech there, Pence is a "lifelong NASA fan," and so he was very excited to check out the Johnson Space Center and help celebrate the men and women who were becoming the agency's 2017 astronaut candidates. He told the audience that he had "caught 'Space Fever' as a little boy in a small town in Southern Indiana" and that he was "deeply honored" to be delivering remarks before NASA so many years later.

Although the event's purpose was to recognize the new astronaut candidates, NASA added in a little celebration for Pence, too. Officials gave him a white sheet cake inscribed with a large blue NASA emblem and the words "Happy Birthday Vice President Pence." Pence called it "one of the coolest birthday cakes I've ever had."

After what he described as a "busy and fun day in Houston," Pence said that he returned home to D.C. to spend time with his wife.

It's not clear how exactly Pence will be celebrating his birthday this year; as of this writing, his press secretary had not announced his plans on Twitter.

One Planned Parenthood branch, though, had its plans for the occasion all figured out. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (the former is Pence's home state) is celebrating his birthday with a spirited campaign called "Make Mike Pence Tense."

The organization is asking for donations in the VP's honor ("imagine Pence's face when he opens his birthday card and reads about all the Pap tests, cancer screenings, STI tests, and birth control Hoosiers were able to receive because of donations in his name"). It's also holding an event in Indianapolis to celebrate LGBTQ and women's rights that will be hosted by "Mike Hot-Pence," a Pence impersonator who became famous for soliciting Planned Parenthood donations in Times Square.

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion nonprofit Susan B. Anthony List tweeted a message honoring the birthday of "the most pro-life vice president in history."