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Trump gives nod to Karen Pence at National Prayer Breakfast

The vice president's wife recently went back to teaching at a Christian evangelical school that bans LGBTQ employees and students.
Image: Karen Pence
Karen Pence during an interview with The Associated Press at the vice president's residence in Washington on Sept. 10, 2018.Carolyn Kaster / AP file

President Donald Trump opened his remarks Thursday morning at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington with a nod to Karen Pence, the vice president's wife.

“I’ve gotten to know Karen so well,” the president said. “She is a Marine Corps mom, a tremendous woman, a proud supporter of military families, and she just recently went back to teaching art classes at a Christian school. Thank you, thank you, Karen. Terrific woman.”

Karen Pence made headlines last month when she announced she had returned to teaching at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia, an evangelical institution that bars its employees from engaging in or condoning “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” and “transgender identity.” The school also prohibits admission to students who engage in or have parents who engage in homosexual or bisexual activity.

Karen Pence has taught for 25 years, including 12 years at Immanuel Christian School while her husband was in Congress. She stopped when he became governor of Indiana in 2013.

Mike Pence addressed criticism of the school and his wife’s job last month during an interview with EWTN, a cable network that offers “news from a Catholic perspective."

“To see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us," he said.

President Trump’s nod to Karen Pence on Thursday quickly drew criticism from LGBTQ advocates.

“It’s disturbing that @SecondLady and @realDonaldTrump would put their stamp of approval on an institution that actively targets LGBTQ students,” LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD tweeted shortly after the president’s remarks.