At roughly 3 p.m. today, second lady Karen Pence welcomed a diverse group of more than two dozen servicewomen — of varying rank, and from all five branches of the military — to the vice president's residence for a thank you reception in honor of National Women's History Month. (That'd be March).
Mrs. Pence, clad in a black pinstripe pantsuit with some sort of cream-colored turtleneck, first greeted the female service members at the steps of the residence, shaking hands and posing for a picture with each one. They largely exchanged pleasantries — "Hello, welcome"; "Hello, nice to meet you" — though a few commented on her necklace, a Marine Corps seal she wears in honor of her son, Michael, who is currently serving as a Marine.
Then, Mrs. Pence and the servicewomen went inside the residence to mingle and munch — water flavored with berries, a table of finger foods — but your pool was kept outside. A short while later, your pool was led inside, where Mrs. Pence made brief remarks, thanking the servicewomen. Her daughter, Charlotte, who is living at home, was also there, dressed in all black (save for tan booties) and chatting with a small group of servicewomen.
Standing on what looked to be a clear plastic riser and behind a clear plastic lectern, as a fire crackled, Mrs. Pence spoke for just over seven minutes and made no news. But highlights are below (and your pool is happy to send the full audio individually, if useful).
She said that Melania Trump had called her about six weeks ago, to discuss doing something for Women's History Month. On Monday, Mrs. Pence visited Fort Meade for a listening session meeting with about two dozen women, and on Thursday decided to invite additional service members to the residence.
"Today we said, 'We would like to invite all five branches to come to the residence,'" she said. "We wanted a full range of rank, we wanted everybody here that we could, and we just wanted to say thank you. You know, I get chocked up because I am military mom. I've got my mom pin on. And I just want you to know how much we appreciate you, and I think a lot of times people in the military, men and women, aren't told enough how much we appreciate you. It's not an easy place to be where you are and I think we're learning that more and more in the position that we're in."
She added: "We just have such respect for you and we just wanted to say thank you, we wanted to say, on a beautiful spring day, come over to the vice president's residence, have some refreshments, tour around the house and see it and let us just say thank you to you. So we are saying thank you to you."
Mrs. Pence also spoke of how she'd heard from some female service members that starting out in the military is relatively simple as a woman, but gets more difficult as they try to balance marriage and children with the demands of their job.
"I know you're all wearing a lot of — okay, I'm going to say this right — I know you're wearing a lot of covers," she said, to knowing laughter, an apparent reference to how military hats are called "covers." "I learned that right away form my son. I said, 'That's such a cool hat.' He said, 'Mom, please.'"
And that's about it. Over and out.