Former Vice President Mike Pence had a rule to never dine alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
The national media and commentary picked up on it in 2017.
Trump thought it was funny and ironic, Pence writes in his new book.
Former President Donald Trump laughed when national media outlets learned of the “Mike Pence Rule”—a personal rule his vice president followed to never dine alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
Though Mike Pence had first disclosed his rule to The Hill in 2002, soon after he was elected to Congress, the revelations received national news coverage in a 2017 Washington Post profile about second lady Karen Pence, which resurfaced his remarks. Numerous comments followed, much of it accusing Mike Pence of disadvantaging women’s careers.
Mike Pence wrote in his new book, “So Help Me God,” out Tuesday, that he was self-consciously heading into the White House after the Washington Post story published because he didn’t want to “create controversy for the administration” and he didn’t know how Trump would react. He was surprised to find Trump laughing about it.
“Can you believe it? After all they’ve said about me, now they are attacking Mike for being faithful to his wife from him! Trump told those who’d gathered for the intelligence briefing that morning.
Pence defends his dining rule in his book, saying that he’d elevated women to top positions on his team. As part of the rule, Pence avoided going to events without his wife in which alcohol was served, saying he wanted to “be careful not to send the wrong message or be in the wrong situation.” He credits the rule to American evangelist Billy Graham.
“The ‘Pence Rule,’ as it was later dubbed, was about protecting everyone on our team and encouraging them to put themselves and their families first,” he wrote.
Mike Pence wrote that Trump “saw the irony” of the coverage about the “Pence Rule.” During the 2016 campaign, Trump himself had faced numerous allegations of infidelity and sexual misconduct.
When the Washington Post story about Karen Pence published, the heavily disputed Steele Dossier had also been made public, in which former British spy Christopher Steele claimed, without evidence, that Russian authorities had covertly filmed Trump being urinated on by sex workers in a Moscow hotel room.
Pence writes in his book that he later felt he was vindicated by his rule. A poll published in July 2017 found that most women thought it was inappropriate for a man to have dinner alone with a woman who isn’t their spouse. Then, Mike Pence writes, the #MeToo movement took off in which women accused Hollywood executives and media figures of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct.
In response to the reports, Pence writes, Trump often quipped that his vice president was “way ahead of his time!”
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