If you're curious to get a glimpse into the personal lives of some of your highest-ranking elected officials, that's not super surprising. And you may be interested in a recent Washington Post report which gives a couple of insights into the marital life between vice president Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence ― first and foremost, that Pence won't dine alone with women besides his wife, and will allegedly not attend any event where alcohol is served unless she's there with him.
The tidbit was tucked away in a lengthy, engrossing profile of Karen by Ashley Parker, which proclaims her the vice president's "prayer warrior," "gut-check," and "shield." Karen herself refrains from ever making any public pronouncements about policy, but she's also been regularly at Mike's side throughout his political career, according to the profile.
It's worth noting that Pence reportedly first revealed these things about himself to The Hill in 2002. His penchant for antiquated, socially conservative attitudes toward family and marriage is no secret ― in particular, there's his habit of calling Karen "mother," a throwback to decades gone by that reportedly surprised and vexed Democratic legislators in Indiana during his gubernatorial stint.
Mike Pence never dines alone w a woman not his wife, nor does he attends events w alcohol, w/o her by his side. https://t.co/BxfS0JzbAc— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) March 29, 2017
Parker's report also mentioned an interesting detail about Mike's office decor when he was a representative, and later, Indiana governor: an antique red phone that sat on his desk, a Christmas gift from Karen after he was first elected to national office. The phone's number was only known to her, making it a direct line of communication between the two, a constant means for her to reach him. The phone made the trip to his office at the Indiana statehouse too, although Parker's reporting makes no mention of whether it came along for the ride to the vice president's residence.
The Response On Twitter
Watching an interesting conversation on FB right now re: whether Mike Pence's "rules" for himself around women are part of rape culture— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) March 29, 2017
VP Mike Pence's 'conservative Christian' faith is the explanation given for why he won't be in a room alone with a female who's not his wife— Xeni Jardin (@xeni) March 29, 2017
No wonder there are never any women in the White House photographs. Mike Pence is terrified that he might have sex with one by accident.— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) March 29, 2017
There's a lot of snark flying around on social media about these details of Pence's married life, and not all of it is fair. Whatever you think about Pence's politics and anti-women policies, consenting adults get to decide how they want their relationships to be, and there's nothing wrong with the vice president adopting a position of thorough devotion and proximity to his wife, provided she feels the same way.
Obviously, though, given some of his retrograde views about other people's consenting adult relationships, it's not hard to see why people are eager to scrutinize his behavior.