- RIGHT HAND MAN Who is Mike Pence? Donald Trump’s Vice President
by jon lockett
DONALD TRUMP’S running mate Mike Pence has served a very important role in recent months and that would continue when he’s taken to the White House – that of ambassador to the Republican Party.
Pence, the affable Indiana governor, has used relationships built over a dozen years in Congress to heal many of the wounds created by outspoken Trump during a fiery election campaign.
The 57-year-old attorney and former talk-show host would enter office as the 48th vice president and the first to serve a president with no prior experience in government or the military.
In an interview, Trump described Mr Pence as someone he would deploy to sell his agenda in Washington.
So who exactly is Vice President Mike Pence?
Mike Pence was raised a Democrat by Irish-Catholic parents in Indiana. Former president John F Kennedy was one of his early heroes.
His conversion to born-again Christianity, and the influence of Ronald Reagan, saw him switch allegiance to the Republicans.
He married his wife Karen in 1985 and they have three children – Michael, Charlotte and Audrey.
He has been in office for 15 years, first as a member of congress and then, since 2013, as Indiana’s governor.
Mr Pence also served as the chair of the House Republican Conference, the third highest-ranking Republican leadership position.
Why was he picked as Trump’s right hand man?
Pence is considered a safe choice, as a long-serving Republican official with close ties both to the party establishment and grassroots.
He has been lauded within his own party for his experience and his solid conservative credentials.
While in office he pushed for a reduction in government spending, quickly gaining a reputation as a canny conservative.
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has described him a “personal friend” and a “movement conservative”.
Pence is also an Evangelical Christian, and was an early supporter of the Tea Party movement.
What’s he best known for?
Mr Pence sparked public outcry when he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was accused of worsening discrimination against the LGBT community.
Those that backed the proposal said it would expand “religious liberty” by allowing business owners to push back when government policy was in conflict with their beliefs.
But opponents said the law was discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and it was criticised by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, and other prominent business leaders.
After heavy critcism, Pence later signed a revised version of the law.
Is he afraid of Trump?
Definitely not. Although supporting the tycoon through his campaign, Mr Pence has not been afraid to publicly disagree with his outspoken ‘boss’.
Before he being picked as his running mate, Mr Pence labelled Mr Trump’s comments about banning Muslims as “offensive and unconstitutional”.
And he said Mr Trump’s leaked remarks about “grabbing p****” were offensive and indefensible.
Does he have ambitions for the ‘big job’?
Possibly. It is thought Mr Pence considered standing himself in 2016, while he fuelled speculation about a run in 2012 by visiting early primary states.
However, for the time being it looks like he’ll be very busy working alongside Mr Trump at the White House.