Remember when Mike Pence delivered a great big slam on Nancy Reagan…exactly five days after she became a widow?
This is going to come back to haunt him.
On June 10, 2004, Mike Pence was one of several speakers who addressed young conservatives and answered their questions at an event hosted by Phyllis Schlafly called “The Future of Conservatism.” Schlafly introduced him as “one of our favorite speakers.”
Pence had delivered a speech the previous day, just four days after the passing of President Ronald Reagan, memorializing the Republican hero. He spoke at length about his commonalities with Reagan’s beliefs as a “Christian, a conservative, and a Republican…in that order.” It was Reagan, he said, who changed Pence’s political affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
He also said, quite clearly, that he had met President Reagan only once, in 1988.
The first question Pence took was asked by a young woman in the audience who said:
“as the next generation coming up, how do…what do we do, what do we put in place, so the words and the actions of president reagan aren’t perverted or changed, the perceptions aren’t changed, later on when there’s nobody here who lived…during this whole time?”
Schlafly, who couldn’t seem to contain herself, jumped in front of Pence to say:
“that’s right! and the problem is all these tenured, left-wing history professors who are gonna write the wrong history! what are we gonna do?”
It was Pence’s answer, however, that was really shocking. He attacked Nancy Reagan’s public support of stem cell research, driven by her husband’s suffering and death from Alzheimer’s disease, just a few short days after he died.
“those that would erode the sanctity of human life in the law, by advancing embryonic stem cell research in the name of Ronald Reagan, would do more than desecrate his memory than I can possibly imagine. He was devoted to the sanctity of human life and we need to continue within our party and within our country to courageously advance those same ideals that he advanced. And that’s the greatest tribute we can make.”
Because, of course, Mike Pence met Ronald Reagan one time, but he would know better how to pay tribute to his memory than Reagan’s wife of 52 years.
Nancy Reagan wouldn’t have known, would she, that her husband supported a woman’s right to choose as a California governor? She wouldn’t know that even when Reagan adopted a pro-life stance as president, his views on abortion deviated wildly from Pence’s, who refuses to support a woman’s right to choose even when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
Except she WOULD know that. She knew what her husband believed, and she was still in mourning just five days after his death.
Attacking the very new widow of your professed hero is not a good look, Pence, and it surely isn’t one you’ll escape as a vice presidential candidate.
See the entire forum here, with Pence’s disastrous answer to an attendee’s question at 2:54:00. For Pence’s CPAC speech honoring Reagan, see video below:
Featured image screengrab via C-Span video