Mississippi GOP Gov. Candidate Follows Pence Rule And Female Reporter Loses Her Mind

On Wednesday, Mississippi state Representative and Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster instructed a female reporter that she would have to bring along a male colleague if she wanted to shadow his campaign.

Foster, like several other conservative politicians, refrains from meeting one-on-one with female colleagues or reporters to avoid potentially controversial situations. This rule, which Foster said he has abided by through his business and political careers, was made famous by evangelist Billy Graham and most recently by Vice President Mike Pence.

USA Today reports Foster said he wanted the male colleague present to avoid “opportunities for an awkward situation,” but the female reporter would not oblige. Thus, Foster declined the interview request:

Mississippi Today had planned to ride along with gubernatorial candidates on the campaign trail in order to better inform their readers about the election and had submitted requests to each major campaign. According to Campbell, the campaign called her on July 7 to say that a male reporter needed to accompany Campbell if she were to ride along on a 15-hour campaign trip to avoid any appearances of an extramarital affair.

“In our case, it was a female reporter asking to ride along, and my campaign director is in and out and gone sometimes…it’s just going to be a lot of opportunities for an awkward situation I don’t want to put myself in…we just wanted to keep things professional,” Foster told SuperTalk Mississippi radio host Paul Gallo via USA Today.

“There’s only one person that comes to mind more than anyone and that’s my wife,” the gubernatorial candidate continued. “I’ve always had the same practice in business. I’m not alone with a female employee and put myself in a situation to have a ‘he said, she said moment.'”

The female reporter published an entire column on the rejection and claimed Foster was sexist.

USA Today reports:

Foster was directly responding to a column Larrison Campbell had published in Mississippi Today earlier on Tuesday alleging Foster’s campaign had declined to let her follow and cover it because “because I am a woman.”

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The Mississippi Republican had tweeted about it on Tuesday evening, referencing the late evangelist Billy Graham’s practice of not traveling, meeting or eating with another woman alone. The practice is reportedly common among many evangelicals. A Washington Post profile of Second Lady Karen Pence cited a 2002 interview with The Hill in which Vice President Mike Pence says he follows a similar rule.

Foster tweeted, “Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the ‘Billy Graham Rule,’ which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife.”

And, “As I anticipated, the liberal left lost their minds over the fact I choose not to be alone with another woman. They can’t believe, that even in 2019, someone still values their relationship with their wife and upholds their Christian Faith.”