The eagle-eyed cultural observers at The Cut have spotted that notoriously homophobic Vice President Mike Pence is extremely fond of a certain anatomical metaphor — one associated with big, strong, strapping men who like to take charge and know how to do it.
The shoulders. Specifically, President Trump's.
But first, Ronald Reagan's: Pence once said that Ronald Reagan’s “broad-shouldered leadership inspired my life.” (And perhaps the tendency to address one's wife as "Mother;" Reagan infamously called his wife Nancy "Mommy." But anyway.) Pence has since bestowed that Gipper-strength compliment on President Trump. Seventeen times, to be precise. Some highlights:
July 15, 2016: “Donald Trump is going to provide the kind of broad-shouldered American leadership on the world stage that I think will make the world a more stable place.”
July 29, 2016: “To be around Donald Trump is to be around a man with broad shoulders …”
August 14, 2016: “He’s a man with broad shoulders, he’s got a clear vision, he’s strong.”
August 31, 2016: “I think it shows the kind of broad-shouldered leader he is. He’s willing to sit down with whom he may have strong differences of opinion to look for things we can work on together and begin the process of discussions.”
September 23, 2016: “Well, I said today at — at the church gathering where we were before, this is a broad-shouldered leader, but he’s also a man that’s impatient with failure.”
September 26, 2016: “Look, Donald Trump’s got broad shoulders. He’s able to make his case and make a point.”
October 4, 2016: “We have got to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered, American leadership.”
December 4, 2016: “— with broad shoulders, who’s going to advance America’s interest. But he’s also going to be engaging the world on behalf of America.”
March 1, 2017: “What the American people saw is the president I serve with every day — broad shoulders, a big heart.”
August 22, 2017: “Criticism comes with this job, and this president has the kind of broad shoulders to be able to take it.”
It's unclear whether Pence believes Trump has an extra-large clavicle and scapula to support his giant chip.
While the observation is amusing, Pence's views toward gay rights and women's reproductive freedom are anything but. In Congress, he supported conversion therapy and said that same-sex marriage would lead to "societal collapse." He wrote a bill to completely defund Planned Parenthood and tried to change the federal-funding provision for abortions from cases of "rape and incest" to only "forcible rape."