Watching Vice President Mike Pence be sworn in last week by Justice Clarence Thomas was my favorite moment of the inauguration. It reminded me of a meeting I had with then Representative Pence back in 2011.
I moved to Washington, D.C. the week after the November 2010 elections. After a brief internship, I was offered a job at an educational nonprofit. A couple of months into the new job, the president of our organization came to town for a series of meetings with Members of Congress.
Being new to the city, I was overwhelmed with the barrage of acronyms, DC lingo, and memorizing all of the names and faces. A friend had pointed out Representative Pence to me at a lame duck rally that I attended my first week of work. Prior to my move, I had never heard of him but I quickly realized his importance in the House Republican Conference.
One of the first offices, we visited that day was Rep. Pence’s office. He greeted my boss like an old friend and invited us to have a seat on the couches in the front. After exchanging pleasantries and discussing a few of our legislative priorities, my president asked him about the rumors that he might run for the presidency in the upcoming 2012 election.
Rep. Pence admitted that he had given it some serious thought and that many friends and supporters were urging him to run. He told us that the phrase “…is there not a cause?” in I Samuel kept coming to mind but he felt that now wasn’t the time for him to run despite all of the well-meaning calls for him to enter the race. My president said that he understood and that he would pray for him to have wisdom. Rep. Pence thanked us and we said our goodbyes.
For some reason, that brief encounter has always stuck with me. A few years ago, I wasn’t sure that Governor Pence would ever mount a serious candidacy for higher office after the RFRA debacle. Like many others, I was shocked but heartened when Donald Trump chose him as his running mate. It was moving to see his heartfelt recitation of the oath at the inauguration.
As he has said countless times, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” I am glad that he can now add the title of Vice President of the United States to that list.