Awkward laughter as Mike Pence makes sex joke at Republican debate

Mike Pence (AP)

Former Vice President Mike Pence made an awkward joke about “sleeping with a teacher for 38 years” after former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie commented on the marriage of President Joe Biden.

“As president, I will take on the teachers union and win, just like I did in New Jersey. Right now, we have a president who is sleeping with a member of the teachers union,” Mr Christie said on Wednesday night, in reference to first lady Jill Biden, a teacher. “They have an advocate inside the White House every day as an advocate for them. They need to stop defending the worst teachers and start defending our kids.”

“Chris, you mentioned the president – my wife isn't a member of the teachers’ union, but I gotta admit I have been sleeping with a teacher for 38 years ... full disclosure,” Mr Pence said.

Mr Christie argued that “this public school system is no longer run by the public. It is run by the teachers’ unions in this country”.

“Randi Weingarten and her crew ... they're taking the worst of their members and defending them rather than advocating for our kids,” he said about the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The education discussion came amid several anti-trans rights rants from the candidates, with Vivek Ramaswamy saying that “transgenderism, especially in kids, is a mental health disorder”.

“We have to acknowledge the truth of that for what it is,” he added.

Galen Druke of FiveThirtyEight noted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that “Mike Pence gets a ‘sleeping with a teacher for 38 years’ attention bump”.

Former Pence aide Olivia Troye added: “Did not have Pence talking about sleeping with a teacher for 38 years on my GOP debate bingo card.”

“OK, Mike Pence, trying to be funny about sleeping with a teacher just got really creepy,” Tom Nichols added.

“Mike Pence mentioning sleeping with a teacher is just yikes,” political scientist Ryan Thompson said.