Patterico's Pontifications


A Former Press Secretary To Mike Pence Speaks Up: His Personal Policies To Safeguard His Marriage Never Held Me Back

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:59 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I wanted to point your attention to a response to the Pence marriage kerfuffle written by Mary Vought, who served as Press Secretary to the House Republican Conference under then-Chairman Mike Pence:

Washington will swallow your soul if you let it. It’s a place where many moral compasses go to die. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Vice President of the United States is ridiculed when it’s reported that he’s spent his time in office choosing to live his life differently from the D.C. status quo.

Since a Washington Post profile of Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, appeared last week, critics have obsessed over a single line, which reported that, as of 2002, the vice president doesn’t dine alone with women other than his wife. At the Atlantic, the New Yorker and other venues, writers have argued that Pence’s preference amounts to a discriminatory policy against women employees, leading to them being left out of important meetings that could boost their careers.

But it’s not true. And I would know: I’m a woman, and I worked for Pence while he served in Congress.

Pence’s personal decision to not dine alone with female staffers was never a hindrance to my ability to do my job well, and never kept me from reaping the rewards of my work. In fact, I excelled at my job because of the work environment created from the top down, and my personal determination to succeed. I engaged in senior staff meetings and strategy sessions side-by-side with the congressman and my colleagues, and I never felt sidelined because of my gender. My proposals and suggestions were always valued as equal with those of my male counterparts.

As time went on, I was able to prove that I could handle increased responsibilities, and so more responsibilities were provided to me. My gender never factored into how my work was evaluated, or whether my responsibilities were expanded. In fact, the congressman would sometimes send me to GOP leadership communication meetings to represent his voice — and more often than not, I was the only woman in the room. My work product determined my success — not private dinners with the congressman. When looking back on my time in the office of the man who is now vice president, I don’t consider it to be a period of missed opportunities.

The fact of the matter is, it’s not as though then-Congressman Pence was out having private dinners with male staffers and I was excluded. He wasn’t having private dinners much at all. He had children at home, so as often as possible, after voting and his daily duties, he’d race home to share a meal with the people that mattered most to him most: his family. Frankly, he modeled for male and female staffers alike that it was possible to serve in a public role with excellence while being wholly dedicated to his family.

This is by no means a partisan issue. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or couldn’t care less, if you choose to prioritize your marriage and esteem your family while faithfully carrying out public service, you should be praised. If the only woman you want to dine alone with is your spouse, you should be commended. With his choice about how to divide up his time, Pence made a strong statement about work-life balance, the importance of family time, and respect in the workplace: values we can all get behind.

Considering that the place where Democracy Dies in Darkness, er, uh, I mean The Washington Post published no less than 5 articles about the Pence marriage since the original profile of Karen Pence ran last week, it’s a bit telling that Vought’s response didn’t receive a more prominent position on the front page, but was instead relegated to the bottom.

Further, to wrap up the subject, I could care less what safeguards the Pences have put in place for their marriage. It’s not my business. But I’ll say this, any couple working at protecting their sacred union is a smart couple, and a couple that gets three cheers from me.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


President Trump’s Social Media Director Targets House Freedom Caucus Member

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Trump’s social media director and senior adviser, Dan Scavino Jr. went after Rep. Justin Amash this morning:


(While President Trump is taking credit for the the $1.2 billion investment by Ford in Michigan announced last week, according to reports, this plan was in place long before President Trump took office.)

Rep. Amash responded with the troubling truth of the matter:


Interestingly, it was just a week ago that President Trump messaged that both the Democrats and Freedom Caucus members inhabit the same basket of deplorable opponents:

The president threatened 2018 primary retribution against the conservative House Freedom Caucus, of which Amash is a member, last week after its members opposed the House Republican leadership’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Trump warned in a tweet that the House Freedom Caucus “will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!”

Further, in a recent interview, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) claimed that President Trump “sent him” a little message:

Against the backdrop of crumbling negotiations over the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump said last week he wanted to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in 2018.

The South Carolina Republican told The Post and Courier that Trump chose to convey this message through an intermediary: White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the S.C. congressional delegation, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus and a friend.

“‘The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,'” Sanford said Mulvaney told him.

He added that Mulvaney made it clear he did not want to deliver the message but did so at Trump’s insistence.

“I’ve never had anyone, over my time in politics, put it to me as directly as that,” Sanford said, perhaps understating just how monumental it is for a sitting president to openly go after members of his own party.

Although critical of the president, Rep. Sanford claims he is not being antagonistic, but that he “want[s] to help him succeed, because if he succeeds, the Republican congress, and our country by extension, succeeds.”

And about those “negotiating tactics” of President Trump, Rep. Amash had this to say:

It’s constructive in 5th grade. It may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

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