Leyton Pence Dearman dons his "MAGA" cap. 

(Submitted photo)

VP called 7-month-old’s mom after photo appeared in paper

After a baby named Pence was ridiculed online for his name, the Vice President of the United States called the mother and invited the family to the White House this December.

Kayla Dearman, a South Jones graduate who lives in Hattiesburg, took a trip to Biloxi with Leyton Pence Dearman, her 7-month-old son, to attend Mike Pence’s rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves on Monday, just before election day. For those wondering, “yes, the baby is named after the vice president. He donned a red ‘Make America Great Again’ cap for the rally.

     “I really liked the name, and (Pence) is a good, Christian man,” Dearman told Biloxi’s Sun-Herald newspaper. “I like the kind of person he is.”

The article went live later that day. On Facebook, commenters on the article were ruthless. But Dearman’s heartache vanished only 10 minutes after she’d seen the comments. It began with a phone call to her mother, Stephanie Phillips of the Rainey Community.

Phillips said the call had come from Washington, D.C. Curious, she answered.

“The person asked for my husband, and I asked if I could take a message,” she said. “He said he was trying to reach Kayla Dearman.”

Dearman, who was driving at the time, then took the phone. She was asked to pull over as the Vice President of the United States wanted to speak with her.

“He called her back after he landed in Washington, D.C. and we were back in Hattiesburg,” Phillips said.

Dearman was ecstatic.

The reason for the White House invitation was not the ridicule she and her child received but the article itself. Mike Pence was reportedly touched that someone was named for him.

“If y’all thought I loved him before, you have no idea how much I do now,” Dearman wrote on Facebook.

“She and Pence talked on the phone for about 10 minutes,” Phillips said. “He said it was a blessing to him because there’s so much negativity out there. He kept going on about how good that made him feel.”

The Dearman family is set to visit the White House during the first week of December.


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