Pence will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia during his trip, meeting with leaders in the region, military troops and business groups. It will be Pence's second foreign trip as
Five things to know about President Donald Trump's No. 2 at the start of his visit:
If Trump is known for his unpredictability and blunt talk, Pence projects a polite Midwestern humility and is more measured in his speeches, rarely going off-script. Pence's first foreign trip to Europe included steady assurances that the U.S. would
Pence is a former Indiana governor and congressman. He was a prominent conservative member of Congress during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, frequently championing anti-abortion causes and reducing federal spending. He opposed Bush's White House on education and prescription drug plans, arguing that the administration had veered from its conservative principles. He unsuccessfully challenged future House Speaker John Boehner in a leadership election but joined the House Republicans' leadership team two years later. Elected Indiana's governor in 2012, Pence signed a controversial "religious freedom" bill in 2015 that critics said allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians by allowing them to cite religious beliefs as a reason for denying services. After a backlash from corporations, Pence softened the law following criticism that it was discriminatory.
FAITH AND FAMILY
Pence often describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." Pence and his wife, Karen, a former elementary school teacher, have been married since 1985 and have three adult children. The couple's son, Michael, is serving as an officer in the U.S. Marines, and their two daughters, Charlotte, a recent college graduate and filmmaker, and Audrey, a college senior, are
Pence's late father, Edward, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star on April 15, 1953 — 64 years to the day of Pence's departure for Asia. The
TALK RADIO, ART THERAPY
Before serving in Congress, Pence was a conservative radio and television talk show host in Indiana during the 1990s. His shows were not known for a combative style that marked conservative talk radio during the era — Pence liked to call himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf." Karen Pence is a longtime advocate of art therapy, the use of art in mental health treatment and forms of rehabilitation, and will be attending art therapy events throughout the trip.
Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KThomasDC