Why Does Mike Pence Keep Using The Phrase 'Broad-Shouldered'?

It couldn't have anything to do with Hillary Clinton being a woman, could it?
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DOMINICK REUTER via Getty Images

WASHINGTON ― When Mike Pence was asked Tuesday night why he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin would respect a Trump administration, the Indiana governor answered with one coded word: “strength.”

Pence said he and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump would rebuild the military, and he sounded unconcerned by Russian threats. “America is stronger than Russia,” Pence said.

Throughout the debate, Pence referred to the “strength” of the GOP ticket. And when Pence was asked about protecting Syria from mass casualties, his answer transformed into a response about the military.

“We have got to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership that begins by rebuilding our military,” Pence said.

Shortly after, Trump retweeted an image ― first posted by @TeamTrump ― that referenced the “strong, broad-shouldered” leadership of Trump and Pence. 

Pence has repeatedly used the phrase “broad-shouldered,” seemingly as a stand-in to say that America needs men in the White House.

When Pence said on CNN that “Donald Trump’s got broad shoulders,” CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked Pence if he was making a comment about masculinity.

Pence denied the suggestion, but it’s a point he keeps coming back to. And if he knows that people are questioning whether the term is meant to remind voters that Hillary Clinton is a woman, why does he keep using it?

Pence and Trump must see some advantage to connecting their capability to handle national security threats with their masculinity, otherwise surely he would refrain from making the same clichéd argument every time he wants to emphasize security.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularlyincitespolitical violence and is a

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Before You Go

6 Reasons Mike Pence Is Terrible For LGBTQ People
He has supported LGBT discrimination under the banner of "religious freedom."(01 of 06)
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In March 2015, Pence signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA) into law, effectively legalizing discrimination against LGBT people across the state. The bill, which Vox called "one of the biggest political crises" of Pence's career, allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as justification for turning away LGBT customers.

The bill's passage sparked national controversy, and in the end, was reported to have set the state back $250 million. In April 2015, Pence signed a revised version of the bill into law that included language that explicitly barred businesses from denying services to customers on the basis of categories that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Many LGBT rights advocates remained critical of the revisions, saying that Indiana should have repealed the measure altogether.
(credit: CHRIS KEANE / Reuters)
He REALLY opposes same-sex marriage.(02 of 06)
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Pence has long been an outspoken opponent of marriage equality, and in floor speeches during his time in Congress, described marriage as being “ordained by God.”

Of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that granted same-sex couples the right to tie the knot nationwide, he reportedly said that he said he was disappointed that SCOTUS had “failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy,” but nonetheless noted that he believed “in the rule of law.”
(credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
He's opposed hate crime protections for LGBT people.(03 of 06)
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In 2009, Pence was an outspoken opponent of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which officially expanded federal hate crime legislation to include violence directed at members of the LGBT community.

At the time, Pence blasted President Barack Obama for using the measure to “advance a radical social agenda,” according to USA Today, and argued that the law could be used to curb free speech rights.
(credit: David Becker / Reuters)
He didn't want "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealed.(04 of 06)
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Pence was no fan of President Obama's decision to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," which banned gay and lesbian people from serving in the armed forces.

In 2010 he told CNN he did not want to see the military become “a backdrop for social experimentation," and said, "We ought to put their interests and the interests of our national security first."
(credit: John Sommers II / Reuters)
He opposed Obama's 2016 transgender bathroom directive.(05 of 06)
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In May, Pence spoke out against the Obama administration's directive advising public schools to allow trans students to use the bathroom that best corresponds with their gender identity or risk losing federal funding.

“The federal government has not business getting involved in issues of this nature,” Pence said.
(credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
His stance on HIV/AIDS prevention is questionable at best.(06 of 06)
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In 2000, Pence suggested that money from a program to help those with HIV/AIDS should be repurposed toward organizations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” BuzzFeed reports.

He's also suggested that needle exchange programs, which can be used to help prevent the spread of HIV, encouraged drug use.

Last year, Pence reluctantly allowed for a short-term needle exchange program to be put into place in Indiana following a spike in HIV infections across the state.

"I do not enter into this lightly," he told The Indianapolis Star. "In response to a public health emergency, I'm prepared to make an exception to my long-standing opposition to needle exchange programs."
(credit: Andrew Kelly / Reuters)
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