UPDATE (7/16/16): Indiana Governor Mike Pence has officially accepted Donald Trump's Vice President invite, NBC News reports.
See original story from 7/15/16 below.
On Friday morning, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. Who is Mike Pence, the mystery man ready to usher in
the apocalypse an inflammatory and divisive former reality star's presidency?
Pence is a 57-year-old Gemini (like Trump, making this a Gemini/Gemini ticket for all you astrology freaks) who loves The Wizard of Oz, Superman, and Jesus. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called Pence “bad for women’s health,” immigration, and LGBT people, so we combed through his political history for receipts.
Pence on LGBT issues
Elected in 2012, Pence is the 50th governor of Indiana, and became well-known for signing the 2015 “Religious Freedom” bill into law. Critics and LGBT rights activists said the law allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by citing religious views as a reason to deny service. When asked by ABC whether businesses could do so, Pence repeatedly said the question was “beside the point.”
Government officials, companies, and celebrities alike called for a coordinated boycott of Indiana. Yelp refused to open offices in Indiana and states with similar laws, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a scathing op-ed criticizing discriminatory bills, and Miley Cyrus famously called Pence an “asshole” on Instagram. According to Clinton’s video, the Religious Freedom Act ended up costing Indianapolis $60 million in lost revenue.
Pence is an anti-LGBT Christian who, according to ABC, said in 2009: “[N]othing can compare to the inexpressible joy I felt on a night in April 1978, when I gave my life to Jesus Christ.” He opposes same-sex marriage and U.S. Department of Education guidelines supporting trans students, and proposed redirecting funds for HIV prevention to conversion therapy—a practice banned in five states and the District of Columbia.
Trump, for some reason, fancies himself an LGBT-rights advocate, even though he opposes same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, he said trans people should be able to use whatever bathroom they want. Just last month, Trump tweeted that he will “fight for” the LGBT community while Hillary would only “bring more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs”—which is extra hilarious given that he picked one of the LGBT community’s biggest enemies for his VP.
Pence on immigration issues
According to Mother Jones, Pence has supported deporting undocumented children:
In 2009, Rep. Pence co-sponsored a bill that would have eliminated automatic citizenship for children born on US soil to undocumented parents. A few years earlier, he voted in favor of bills that would have allowed for the detention of undocumented immigrants seeking hospital treatment.
The Indiana governor also voted yes on a bill to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. But Trump and Pence don’t always agree on immigration policies; after Trump called for a complete shutdown of Muslim immigration into the U.S., Pence tweeted:
And when Trump said that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican American heritage was a “conflict” to his job, Pence called the billionaire’s comments “inappropriate.” According to ABC, he said, “I don’t think it's ever appropriate to question the partiality of a judge based on his ethnic background.”
Pence on women’s issues
Earlier this year, Pence signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill prohibiting women from “electing to have an abortion due to the race, gender, or disability of the fetus.” The law also held doctors liable for wrongful death if they chose to perform an abortion motivated by any of these factors. Indiana is only the second state to sign this kind of law, according to Mother Jones. Ultimately, the law was blocked by a federal judge, but there was enough outrage to inspire #PeriodForPence, a campaign of women calling the governor’s office to tell him about their menstrual cycles, since he seems so darn concerned with what’s going on down there.
Pence has also voted against raising the minimum wage and expanding health coverage for low-income children, and signed a bill giving law enforcement the authority to withhold body camera footage. He also pushed an amendment through the House to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, setting off a national movement with dangerous effects. Mother Jones reported:
When Pence became governor in 2013, Indiana continued to slash resources for the women's health provider. By 2014, state funding for Planned Parenthood had been cut nearly in half from 2005 levels. The organization was forced to close five of its smaller clinics, none of which had ever provided abortions, but they did provide STD testing. Soon, Scott County, Indiana, home to one of the closed clinics, became the hub of an enormous HIV outbreak.
In October 1991, Pence wrote an essay titled “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner,” according to ABC. “Negative campaigning is wrong,” he said. Yet negativity is a big part of Trump’s campaign and character—especially when it comes to interactions with women. The billionaire is notorious for derogatory remarks about women since even before his presidential bid.
During his campaign, Trump has said that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “mind is shot,” called Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” with a “nasty mouth,” and called Clinton's bathroom break during the debate “disgusting.”
Trump and Pence might disagree on negative campaigning, but they're both advocates for policies that actively harm people who are LGBT, immigrants, and/or women. If we really want to “make America great again,” we need a White House team fighting for civil rights for all Americans—not just those who fit their mold.