During an interview, the Republican vice presidential candidate gave a surprising answer to a poignant comment from a young girl. Mike Pence's response to an 11-year-old's body image question was totally off base, and Twitter is definitely noticing.
Pence did an interview for Columbus, Ohio's WBNS-TV Thursday; according to Business Insider, one question in particular seemed to catch him off guard. Anchor Scott Light told Pence that a Girl Scout troop recently visited the station, and one 11-year-old shared her misgivings about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's rhetoric highlighted in campaign commercials: "When I hear those words and look in the mirror, they make me feel bad about myself." Light's question for Pence, The Huffington Post reported, was "What would you say to that little girl?"
Rather than directly addressing the child's concern, Pence gave an answer that seemed to touch on everything but Trump's questionable words about women:
Viewers noticed Pence dodge the question. After Pence's evasion, Twitter users called attention to the peculiar response:
Pence's response called to mind one of Trump's answers from the second presidential debate held Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis. Just two days earlier, the Washington Post debuted footage from a 2005 Access Hollywood taping that caught Trump detailing his behavior toward women on a hot mic, according to CNN Money. Trump could be heard talking about pursuing a married woman, and he described kissing women without their consent. He said, "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything... Grab them by the p*ssy. You can do anything." On Sunday, according to a transcript of the second presidential debate published by The New York Times, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump directly about the video: "That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?" Trump attempted to deny Cooper's premise while shifting the attention to military strategy:
Though Pence and Trump may attempt to divert attention from Trump's words about women, the Access Hollywood video release did prompt Pence to criticize his running mate, NBC News reported. Pence's written statement distanced him from Trump's remarks while still leaving the candidate an opportunity for redemption prior to the second presidential debate:
It seemed over the weekend that Pence firmly took a stand against Trump's descriptions of how he'd treated women, but the language revealed on the Access Hollywood tape is only the most recent in a string of remarks that likely prompted undermined the Girl Scout's self-esteem. Pence's decision to avoid a direct response to the 11-year-old girl mentioned in the WBNS-TV interview makes it easier to question whether he is actually willing to challenge the most potentially damaging elements of his running mate's rhetoric.