In an interview this week with the Associated Press, Karen Pence talked about her changing public image, campaigning for President Donald Trump and her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, and some of her causes as second lady.
“I just feel like I want to do my part,” Mrs. Pence, 63, told the AP in an article published Wednesday. She was embarking on a solo campaign trip back to her and her husband’s home state of Indiana.
“This is so exciting for me,” she reportedly said at one recent event. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Vice President Pence — I have to put his name in there, too — we are getting things done.”
According to the AP, her team waved away stories that, as an evangelical Christian, she had been uncomfortable with President Trump’s profane and provocative past, including the notorious Access Hollywood tape about touching women’s genitals.
“Aides say Mrs. Pence supports Trump, and that claims suggesting otherwise are false,” the AP reported.
She did not discuss a controversy last year over her working for an anti-LGBTQ Christian school.
What she did talk about, however, was how campaigning added to a schedule that included official state functions as well as time painting with watercolors, beekeeping and teaching art at the Virginia school which made headlines for explicitly discriminating against gay and transgender people.
“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” Kara Brooks, Mrs. Pence’s spokeswoman, said at the time.
Vice President Pence called the criticism “offensive.”
On the 2020 campaign trail, the second lady has been tasked with working to connect with suburban women, who are seen as key and vulnerable Republican voting block, to try to drum up more support for her husband and Trump.
“Whatever you’re doing, we need you to do more, and whatever you’re giving, we need you to give more,” she recently told a crowd in New Hampshire, according to the AP. “We need four more years of President Donald Trump.”
In speeches and other meet-and-greets on the trail, Mrs. Pence points to the Trump administration’s economic record, including some of the same points the president trumpets on his Twitter: low unemployment numbers, tax cuts and regulation cuts.
According to the AP, another key cause is her work with military spouses, educating them about available support and resources.
Mrs. Pence often reserves space on her social media timelines for retweeting Trump agendas and promotional material or thanking Republican supporters and donors for hosting her and the vice president at events.
Though, with a potential Pence 2024 presidential election on the horizon, she is also spotlighting herself. (Speaking with the AP, she talked about her changing diet and personal image, including her new and longer hair — a sign of an update, per the outlet.)
“The only time that she gets much attention nationally is in reference to her husband and their relationship,” outside expert Tammy Vigil told the AP. “She could definitely improve her image by being active and going on her own.”