As Vice President Mike Pence drops off a large stack of paperwork in the oval office for his boss to look over, one can’t help but notice his suit jacket breast pocket keeps singing the start of a familiar chorus, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” and then repeats a few times before going silent again.
“Never a dull moment,” Pence laughs as he picks up a napkin and a coffee tumbler from the desk, and his pocket begins to sing that classic Lee Greenwood song once again. He tucks the remnants of what we will assume was the President’s breakfast under his arm and reaches into his breast pocket and the song becomes louder. He shows us his phone’s display, UNKNOWN CALLER, and he quickly answers it on speaker, “”This is Governo…. Vice President Mike Pence, I have you on speaker.”
The Vice President explains that he always answers unknown numbers on speakerphone, especially when his wife is nearby, just so everyone knows the calls are above board. “Yes, I’m quite happy with my cable provider, why do you ask,” the Vice President happy to oblige the caller with a 4 minute conversation about the benefits of satellite television, before he disconnects the call, “no problem call back anytime Tony.”
“I’m totally addicted to this thing,” Pence holds his 3rd generation iPhone up, “I’m just like most kids today I guess. I mean, I’m told I can totally relate to the youth of America, because I’m always on this darn thing.”
Another unknown number, “Go for Pence,” shortly followed by another, “You got the backup here on speaker.” His phone never stops ringing during our 15 minute conversation, and he answers every call with patience and aplomb, that is until the screen reads “Matt Bevin Cell.”
“Hey would you like to see where they filmed the West Wing,” he asks us before opening the door to the hallway. Just as Lee Greenwood sings again, the Vice President silences his phone, “seriously, I’m told Rob Lowe once stood right over here.”
The Vice President lead us out into the hall and explained, “Oh man I loved that show, I didn’t really get all of it because they talked so fast, but all those episodes were interesting right? Let’s walk and talk like they did.”
With Pence opening the line of communication we asked, “Sir, why aren’t you answering Governor Bevin?”
The Vice President’s face began to turn red, “Oh man, I met Matt a while back, nice guy, but for a long time I only had to take him in small doses. I gave him my number yesterday after a meeting, and now he calls all the time, just wanting to chat and the guy never has anything to say. I’ll say ‘Hey Matt what’s goin’ on?’ Then he’ll just be like, ‘Nothin’ much, just driving home, talking to you on the phone,’ it’s like c’mon man!”
The future interim President began to calm down once again, and asked a staffer if they ever met Aaron Sorkin. Then his phone began to sing once again. This time removed it from his pocket, and an expression of complicated emotion came across his face. The phone displayed a number, with no name associated with it, but began with a 502 area code. Deep down you could tell he wanted to answer the call, just in case the President was calling him for some help on a policy issue from a payphone, or someone else had some interesting information on satellite television, but the source of his struggle became apparent when he explained, “Matt has several burner phones, like on Breaking Bad, and he calls me from those.”
The future former Vice President begrudgingly answered the 502 phone call and grimaced as he heard “Hey it’s Bevs” through the speaker. Pence held the phone away from his face and yelled “Whoops” just before he hung up the phone, asked a staffer to figure out how to block that number and walked briskly into the hallway restroom.
We didn’t feel like it was appropriate to follow him in there.