It's Mother's Time to Shine

It's Mother's Time to Shine

Karen Pence has transformed from a modest church mouse to a suburban gym rat just in time to target the fickle and coveted suburban mom vote.

The Associated Press profiled Pence (or, as her husband calls her, Mother) as she hits the campaign trail solo in the hopes of boosting Donald Trump into a second term—and getting her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, closer to the Oval Office. With Melania Trump reportedly “laying low,” Pence has positioned herself as one of the more recognizable women in the White House with the skills to lure suburban (white) women voters.

But her role isn’t to simply tout low unemployment numbers or repeat laughably empty talking points about Trump’s pro-women policies. She’s also begging for more money. “Whatever you’re doing, we need you to do more, and whatever you’re giving, we need you to give more,” Pence recently told a crowd of Trump supporters in New Hampshire. Beyond the standard campaign trail speeches, the AP makes sure to note that Mother got a makeover. The outlet reports that Pence has a “slightly updated image” and lost weight (emphasis mine):

Below-the-shoulder locks have replaced the tight bob and bangs she sported at the dawn of the administration. She’s noticeably thinner, too, with credit going to an exercise regimen that includes using weights and pulleys, along with apps to aid calorie counting.
She hasn’t cut anything out of her diet. “I just have cut back,” she said.
So exactly how many pounds did Karen Pence drop from her 5-foot-2 frame? She said only that it took her six months to a year to shed it.
“I would say that I’ve kept 10 off,” she added. “Let’s put it that way.”

Perhaps when the other big hitters in Trump’s orbit include Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the competition to look like something manufactured by a Fox News laboratory is fierce. But the emphasis on Pence’s hair and weight is a particularly odd framing especially since the AP’s is so drawn in by her oh-so-relatable suburban mom strategy that they breeze right past Pence’s work at an evangelical school with discriminatory policies.

In 2019, Pence returned to teaching art at Immanuel Christian School, a Christian private school in Northern Virginia that prohibits LGBTQ students and, according to the New York Times, “requires employees to affirm that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.” The K-8 school also pushes chastity and teaches health from a “biblical perspective,” with the help of reading material that demonizes crop tops and suggests losing one’s virginity at 16 is a slippery slope to “girl-on-girl” sex, STDs, porn addiction, and an unhappy marriage. Pence’s spokeswoman dismissed the criticisms as a ridiculous attack on Christian beliefs while her husband said that “attacking Christian education” is offensive.

No word from Pence herself on this matter, or much of anything other than the freedom of tax cuts and her weight loss secrets. Treating her as an independent woman responsible for more than her waistline and hair length is, apparently, a step too far. Focusing on her empty platitudes about job growth and dubious “opportunity zones” is easier.

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