Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s views on women came under more scrutiny on Tuesday after The Washington Post dug up a 1997 letter criticizing what he called “the big lie that ‘Moms don’t matter.'”
According to the Post’s Wonkblog, in 1997, Pence wrote a letter to the Indianapolis Star, scolding the paper on its reporting on a study by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, which found no cognitive developmental disadvantages for children who attend day-care while their parents are at work.
“Sure, you can have it all,” Pence wrote to the Star, “But your day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick.”
Pence added that he is not “condemning anyone that has chosen the day-care route,” but is rather “criticizing a culture that has sold the big lie that ‘Mom doesn’t matter.'”
The vice presidential candidate’s views on working women are part of a larger cache of the politician’s published views from the past two decades that media outlets have been unearthing in the past week. On Sunday, BuzzFeed News uncovered a 1999 op-ed from Pence’s radio show accusing Disney of using the children’s film, Mulan, to influence the debate about women’s role in the armed forces. BuzzFeed quotes Pence’s doubt that someone a woman with such “delicate features and voice” could possibly achieve “military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts.”
“I suspect that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right,” Pence wrote.
As the Wonkblog notes, Pence’s view that more women should be stay-at-home moms is plummeting in popularity. The blog references a study that found female workers are now the primary source of income for 40 percent of American households.
While the Trump campaign has not commented on the recent dirt on his running mate, Pence’s reactionary views on women’s rights should come as no surprise to reporters. Mother Jones reported the Indiana governor has severely restricted women’s access to abortion in his state, including by severely slashing state funding for Planned Parenthood.
But Wonkblog points out that Pence’s views may also be at odds with the trend toward which the GOP is moving. “Last year, for example, Marco Rubio became the first GOP candidate to release a policy plan to make childcare more affordable, proposing new tax credits for working families,” the blog writes.
The focus toward working women is long overdue for some Republicans. Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, told Wonkblog, “For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It’s the absolute worst thing they can do.”