How 2 soaring hawks persuaded Mike Pence not to give up on his political dreams

View Comments
Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence and their daughter Charlotte Pence arrive for a rally on the National Mall before the start of the annual March for Life.

WASHINGTON – Charlotte Pence, the author of a children's book about the day in the life of the vice president as seen through the eyes of his rabbit, now has a more detailed take on her dad.

Vice President Mike Pence's middle child has a new book, "Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father." being released Oct. 16

"These stories share what happened to my family, who when faced with monumental decisions, went forth in faith and little else," she writes.

About her book:Why Pence's daughter is proud she's one of the few women he'll dine alone with

Life lessons:What Charlotte Pence learned from her VP father

Here are some takeaways from the book:

This image released by Hachette Book Group shows "Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father," by Charlotte Pence, available on Oct. 16, 2018.

No flapping

If not for one moment during a family vacation on a Colorado ranch, Mike Pence may not have run for Congress in 2000. After two failed bids, Pence was doing well as a radio talk show host when the House seat he'd previously sought came open. While the family was still deciding whether to risk another run, Karen Pence saw two hawks gliding on the wind’s current and took it as a sign.

“No flapping,” she said to her husband. “When we do it this time, we’re going to let God carry us where He wants us to go without us trying to get there on our own.”

That legend is told often in the family, and shared with every friend, confidant, family and staff member at some point.

Trump picks Pence

Charlotte Pence was watching the cooking show “Chopped” at her parents’ Indianapolis home when then-Gov. Mike Pence got the offer from Donald Trump to be his running mate. His voice caught with emotion when he told his children, after getting the others on the phone. Charlotte congratulated and hugged her dad – then went back to “Chopped.”

Charlotte accompanied her parents to New York for the announcement, hunched down in the car on the way to the airport to avoid the TV cameras. No family members outside of the children had been told. So after the news broke, Charlotte’s grandmother called her son to ask: “Michael? Is it true?” before both broke down in tears.

Charlotte still has a picture of her dad hugging his wife while holding up his phone to show Trump’s tweet announcing his choice. “That’s when things felt real,” she wrote.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence on stage at the conclusion of the 2016 Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 21, 2016.

View of the Trumps

When Mike Pence asked to spend time with the Trumps before deciding whether he’d be open to joining the ticket, Charlotte went along to represent the children. “What struck me most was his kindness,” she wrote of Trump. “I could tell he had a genuine heart and a desire to help people in the country.”

On election night, the families watched key states get called for Trump from his personal residence. Once Pennsylvania was in Trump’s column, Mike Pence told Trump’s youngest son, Barron, that it was good for the country that his dad would be president. He thanked Barron “for letting us share this with you.”

“I would not have wanted to share it with anyone else,” Charlotte writes about the Trumps. “Their kindness, inclusion, and generosity was something I have tried to learn from and emulate in any capacity.”

Praise for Hillary

Pence also has nice things to say about Hillary Clinton after meeting her during the inauguration luncheon, an experience she says she has considered many times since. Nervous about potentially bothering Clinton, Pence almost turned around a few times before approaching. When she did, Clinton looked directly at Charlotte instead of recognizing the man next to her. Many women will understand why such a seemingly small gesture meant a lot, Pence writes, because it’s more common for the man to be addressed first.

Pence also was impressed that Clinton took her seriously as an individual person, expressing an interest in what she was doing and where she had gone to school. “Of all people,” Pence writes, “she would have been somewhat justified in being curt to me, but she was not.”

Pence steps off an Air Force plane similar to the one he will use after being sworn in, as he, his wife, Karen Pence, center, holding cat "Oreo," and daughter Charlotte Pence holding "Pickle," arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Jan. 9, 2017.

About that 'Hamilton' performance

Pence was with her father in New York City after the election when they decided to take advantage of a free night to see “Hamilton.” Going to a Broadway show together was a father-daughter tradition from when Pence served in Congress and they could ride the bus to New York City. But when they arrived in the theater, people booed, cheered, jeered, and stood to applaud.

“It was the strangest cacophony I’ve ever heard and one of the weirdest experiences,” she writes. “I couldn’t tell if people were for or against us, but we took our seats and enjoyed the show. We watched together, just like old times, but this time, I could feel every eye in the place on us.”

Their visit made national news when, after the show, the cast addressed her dad on behalf of “the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious” about the incoming administration.

“My heart broke a little bit that night,” Pence wrote. “But as the arts tend to do, they mended it again over time.”

The Pence Rule

Pence writes that she’s blessed to be in a family where her parents have been married for more than 30 years but “still look at each other as if they met last week.”

One of the ways her dad protects his marriage is by not eating dinner alone with another woman – what has come to be called the “Pence Rule.”

“I am proud to say I am one of a few women who Mike Pence dines with alone,” she writes.

She also recounts what it was like watching the “Pence Rule” being discussed on TV as she watched with her dad. Before going to bed, Charlotte hugged her dad and thanked him “for only having dinner with my mom my entire life.”

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence let children pet their family rabbit "Marlon Bundo" during and event with military families celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The vice president hosted about 160 spouses and children of the active duty U.S. military members.

The 'D.C. Hillbillies'

Before the Pences became the Second Family, they were the self-dubbed “D.C. Hillbillies.” They gave themselves that name after over-enthusiastically participating in a Capitol Hill event for congressional families called “Pet Night.” It was a chance for the children of lawmakers to meet famous pets, such as the cat from "Stuart Little" or the dog from "Men in Black." The Pences thought it an experience that should be shared with their actual pets – a dog, two cats and a lizard.

“I don’t know when exactly our mother found out that we had misjudged Pet Night, but it was most likely at some point after Bud (the dog) tried to run away and before Madeline (the cat) threw up a hairball next to Dad’s foot as he discussed legislation with another freshman congressman,” she writes.

The lesson the Pences took away: “If you take yourselves too seriously in D.C., you miss all the fun.”

More:Mike Pence warns Christian conservatives against complacency in midterm elections

More:Bob Woodward's take on Vice President Mike Pence: He tries to stay out of Trump's way

More:Pence denies meeting to oust President Trump, says he'd take a lie detector test

More:Social media users are convinced Meghan McCain threw 'side-eye' at Pence during memorial

More:Mike Pence, 'Christian supremacist': 6 key takeaways from a new book


View Comments