Politics

Mike Pence In 2002: “Condoms Are A Very, Very Poor Protection” Against STDs

“The secretary of state may be inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives.”

Jim Bourg / Reuters

In 2002, Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said condoms are a poor defense against sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

Pence’s comments came in response to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell saying in an MTV forum that young people should protect themselves through safe sex with condoms.

“I think it’s important for young people, especially, to protect themselves from the possibility of acquiring any sexually transmitted disease, but especially to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, which is a plague that is upon the face of the earth,” Powell said.

In an interview with CNN, Pence called Powell’s comments a “sad day” and said he advocated for abstinence education. Pence said Powell’s call for condom use could mislead millions of young people and put their lives at risk.

“Well, Wolf, I think it was — given the enormous stature that Colin Powell rightly has, not only in America but in the world community — it was a sad day. I don’t think any administration has had a worse day since boxers and briefs on MTV,” Pence said on CNN to Wolf Blitzer. “And the truth is that Colin Powell had an opportunity here to reaffirm this president’s commitment to abstinence as the best choice for our young people, and he chose not to do that in the first instance, but — and so I think it’s very sad.”

“The other part is that, frankly, condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and in that sense, Wolf, this was — the secretary of state may be inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives,” continued Pence.

Pence said the solution was “too modern” for him.

“The problem is it was too modern of an answer, Wolf,” he said. “It was — it truly was a modern, liberal answer to a problem that parents like me are facing all over America, and frankly, all over the world.”

The CDC says condoms can effectively protect from many of the most serious sexually transmitted diseases when applied correctly.


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