Who is Mike Pence? Meet America's new Vice President

Donald Trump has been elected the new US President

Who is Mike Pence? Meet America's new Vice President

Image: John Locher AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has been elected the president of the United States, with Mike Pence acting as Vice President.

Pence has been in office for 15 years, first as a member of Congress and - since 2013 - as Indiana’s governor.

But who is the man succeeding Joe Biden?

Pence was originally a Democrat 

Pence was raised a democrat by Irish-Catholic parents.  His conversion to born-again Christianity, and the influence of Ronald Reagan, saw his political stance shift to the Right. 

Before entering Congress he worked as a Right-wing radio host, describing himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf”.

When he accepted the nomination for vice president, Pence described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”

He serves as an ambassador for the Republicans - though there's been little said about what his role as VP will involve

Pence is being touted as a 'bridge builder' for Trump, having used relationships built over a dozen years in Congress to salve many of the wounds created by Trump during and after the GOP primary campaign.

Trump cited “party unity” as his reasoning for picking him, telling 60 Minutes in an interview that Pence is someone he would deploy to sell his agenda in Washington.

“You know, Mike’s got tremendous experience in Congress, tremendous relationships,” Mr. Trump said in the interview.

Mr. Pence, in the interview, agreed, saying his ties to Washington would help him “advocate for the agenda of the Trump administration.”

Trump rejected the likes Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie as his running mate, saying he "didn't need an attack dog".

His stance on gay rights has been seen as controversial 

In 2015, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.

Advocates said it would expand “religious liberty” by allowing business owners to push back when government policy was in conflict with their beliefs.

But opponents said the law was discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and it was criticised by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, and other prominent business leaders.

Pence later signed a revised version of the law, but not before giving a widely criticised interview attempting to defend the original legislation.

TeenVogue are also reporting that the Vice President previously advocated for conversion therapy for LGBT teenagers.

On the campaign website for his 2000 run for Congress, Pence writes, "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."

He's seemingly at odds with Trump over Syria

In a Vice Presidential debate in October against Democratic nominee Tim Kaine, Pence attacked Russia, saying he felt the US ought to establish safe zones and meet Russian "provocations" with strength, backing the use of military force if necessary.

In contrast, Trump openly praised Vladimir Putin, the Russian president's policy on Syria, calling it a "wonderful thing".

Trump indicated that he didn't think that Russia was part of the problem in the war-torn country. Instead, he said that Russia is fighting ISIS.
 
"Russia is killing ISIS," Trump said, making similar comments about the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Syria is fighting ISIS."
 
Pence has since insisted that he and Trump stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" on foreign policy.

His policies on sexual health inadvertently caused an HIV outbreak in Indiana.

After Planned Parenthood was shut down in Indiana, Scott County experienced an HIV outbreak. Planned Parenthood was the county's sole HIV testing center, and as a result of intravenous drug use, it saw an explosion of the disease in 2015.

There were over 150 new cases reported in the tiny county of 23,000, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He originally endorsed Ted Cruz

Just four days before voters in Indiana went to the polls, Pence endorsed Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee.

However, this didn't stop him praising the new president, saying on Greg Garrison’s radio program on WIBC. : "I particularly want to commend Donald Trump, who I think has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with a lack of progress in Washington D.C.."