Mike Pence's brothers (Columbus, Indiana, 1959) called him "the bubble" because he was chubby and funny. The six little ones – four men and two women – entertained each other making practical jokes and playing soccer, although the Bubble did not like the ball. They grew up in the bosom of a modest Catholic family in a town of less than 30,000 inhabitants in deep America. As one of the brothers told New YorkerThey were forbidden to speak during dinner, they had to stand up when an adult entered the room and, if they lied, the father would hit them with his belt. On Friday nights the family scene was to chase the fire truck in the car and on Sundays to serve as altar boys at Mass.
From that home of Irish roots and Kennedy fans, came a young Democrat Mike Pence, the current number two of Donald Trump, who this week in the vice presidents' debate presented himself as a great asset for the Republican candidacy, capable of reach the moderate vote that escapes the New Yorker.
On the advice of his father, a Korean War veteran, Mike Pence postponed his idea of entering the priesthood and enrolled at Indiana University School of Law. He was a good speaker, with a phlegmatic temperament. At this stage, the Jimmy Carter voter had three experiences that buried the Columbus teenager and made him the man from Washington. The first occurred on a friend's trip to the Christian Woodstock festival in Kentucky, where evangelical rock bands rocked Pence. In those years there was a massive migration of the Christian vote to the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan won in 1984 in every state except Minnesota. Among those who gave him the victory was Mike Pence, a new member of their ranks of fervent loyalty. That same year, the young man was attracted to Karen, the girl who played guitar at Church.
Karen Batten was a divorced school teacher two years older than Pence. The Republican invited her to ice skating on their first date. Nine months later, he hid a ring in a loaf of bread and they went to feed the ducks in a canal. Karen, a month earlier, had had the word "yes" engraved on a gold cross, according to The Washington Post. When she was cutting bread, Pence asked her if she would marry him and she handed him the crucifix. The current US vice president acknowledged in an interview in the past that he follows a rule of the evangelical pastor Billy Graham, which does not allow a man to dine alone with another woman other than his wife or attend a mixed event in which alcohol is served. unless your partner is present.
Already married and converted to evangelical Christianity, Pence tried to win a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, without success. He decided then to reach his electorate in another way, but without losing sight of the fact that the objective was the Capitol. He became a radio host and spoke to Indiana housewives and retirees. "I'm a conservative, but I'm not angry about it," explained Pence, who knew how to convey his most radical ideas with the serenity of someone who reads the shopping list aloud. When a vacancy came up for the 2000 election, the Republican went on vacation with his wife and three children. He was riding with Karen through the mountains of Colorado when they looked up at the sky and spotted two red-tailed hawks soaring overhead. They interpreted it as a sign, his wife would explain later. Pence ran again as a congressman and, this time, he did win his seat.
During Pence's 12 years in Congress, he proposed 90 bills and resolutions, but none of them became law. Despite having the appearance of an expressionless and absent type, almost like a wax doll, his warm gaze and the constant hint of a smile make him close. His character led him to generate a network of important connections in Washington and he ended up making friends with millionaire donors, who would be key to his aspirations for the White House. Among them, the magnate David Koch, a source of money for the advancement of conservative radicalism in the United States. Koch passed away in August of last year.
After passing through Washington, he became governor of his native Indiana. In office, he drew his ultra-converging claws and signed a bill that prohibited women from aborting a malformed fetus and required its burial even after a miscarriage. A federal judge declared the regulations unconstitutional. Surrounded by nuns, priests and anti-gay activists, he signed a law on religious freedom that essentially legalized discrimination against homosexuals by companies. The avalanche of criticism from the public and various companies forced him to back down. After the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, Pence issued an executive order to prohibit the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.
As he tried to carry out his radical right-wing agenda in Indiana, Washington watched him. In 2016 the Republican Party elected its presidential candidate: Donald Trump. A man who said that he had never sought God's forgiveness; known for being surrounded by young models at nightclubs and rarely seen in church. It was then that the party thought of Mike Pence to balance the scales. Pence unmasked his ambitious side and did not think twice. For four years, the devotee has served God and Trump.
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