Vice President-elect Mike Pence will have a special connection to a past president when he raises his right hand to be sworn in as the second in command of the United States.
The Columbus native’s left hand will rest on two Bibles of importance to him on Friday.
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“I am going to be using Ronald Reagan’s Bible. I’m also going to be using one of our personal Bibles from home; it will be different than the one I used when I was inaugurated as governor,” Pence said Friday.
The Bible that Reagan — the 40th U.S. president — used for both of his presidential inaugurations was a family Bible given to him by his mother, and opened to II Chronicles 7:14, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
Reagan also used it for both of his gubernatorial inaugurations, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said.
Pence has said previously that Reagan was a hero of his and one source of inspiration for him to go into politics — the factor for asking to use the former president’s Bible.
The Reagan family Bible belongs to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, and has been a permanent display at the presidential library and museum in Simi Valley, California, Lotter said.
The vice president-elect was at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California last year, making a speech there Sept. 8.
Pence’s inauguration will be the first time the Reagan family Bible has been outside of the Reagan family or foundation’s possession, and one of Reagan’s top aides is transporting the Bible to Washington, D.C., Lotter said.
Both Bibles will both be opened and stacked on top of each other, Pence said.
The person who will administer his oath of office is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“I’m incredibly honored that he accepted. He’s in his 25th year on the Supreme Court and has developed an extraordinary judicial record,” Pence said.
Here’s the news releases from the inauguration website about the Bible and about Clarence Thomas:
“President Ronald Reagan placed his faith in a loving God and the goodness of our country. He set out to change a nation and in doing so, he changed the world. In the march of history, Ronald Reagan’s time in office was limited, but his legacy inspired a generation and will continue beyond,” said Vice President-elect Pence. “It will be humbling to enter office with President Donald Trump, standing next to my family, with my wife Karen holding the same Bible used by President Reagan when he took office.”
The Reagan Family Bible that Vice President-elect Pence will place his right hand upon was used by Ronald Reagan for his gubernatorial and presidential inaugurations. This marks the first time a person other than Reagan has used it at an inauguration. The Reagan Family Bible has never been out of the possession of the Reagan family or the Reagan Foundation, and is currently on permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Because it is such a priceless artifact and requires special protection, Andrew Littlefair, one of President Reagan’s top White House aides, and who now serves on the Board of Trustees for the Reagan Foundation and Institute, will hand carry the Bible from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., where it will be put under lock and key.
When Vice President-elect Pence takes the oath, The Reagan Family Bible will be open to the same passage used during President Reagan’s inaugurations, and Pence often referenced toward the end of his remarks during the 2016 campaign:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
“It will be my honor to take the Oath of Office to defend our Constitution from a man who has dedicated his life to the same noble pursuit,” said Vice President-elect Pence. “Justice Thomas was born into poverty in Pin Point, Georgia. From those humble beginnings, Justice Thomas went on to graduate from Holy Cross College and Yale Law School. He served in the Reagan Administration and was appointed to the federal bench in 1990 and the Supreme Court in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush. I have long admired Justice Clarence Thomas and deeply respect his judicial philosophy, dedication to the rule of law, and his historic service on the bench of our nation’s highest court.”
In October, 2016, Justice Thomas celebrated his 25th year on the Supreme Court, making him the longest serving African-American Justice in American history. On Friday, Justice Thomas will become the first African-American in history to administer the Oath of Office to the Vice President or President of the United States.