Mike Pence Staying with Family and Will Look for a New Home After Returning to Indiana: Sources

Mike Pence and his family returned last week to his home state of Indiana, but the former vice president is still looking for a place to call his own.

Pence, 61, told a small crowd of supporters welcoming him at the Columbus Municipal Airport on Jan. 20 that he had "promised" his wife, former Second Lady Karen Pence, that they would "be moving back to Indiana come this summer."

Republican insiders in Indiana tell PEOPLE the Pences are currently staying with family, though their plan to find a permanent residence later this summer remains the same.

The family sold their last home and moved into the governor's mansion in Indianapolis in 2012 before moving to Washington, D.C., in 2016.

Sources also downplayed a recent Business Insider report describing the former vice president's intermediate living situation as him being "homeless" and "couch surfing" with friends and family across the state.

"It's not like Seinfeld," one local insider tells PEOPLE. "I don't think Mike and Karen Pence are on somebody's pull-out couch with the bar that goes across the bed and all that stuff. They have a lot of family."

This source tells PEOPLE the Pences are "staying with family as they figure out what their next steps are going to be."

"They're really just taking their time and taking a break," the source adds. "By all indications, I haven't heard the plan [to find a home later this summer] has changed."

Kyle Hupfer, the chairman of the Indiana GOP, echoed that to PEOPLE last week.

"They have just said that their plan is to be back in Indiana sometime around the end of the summer with a new home," he said. "They haven't said where that is."

Hupfer, who has known Pence for more than a decade and spoke with him at the airport upon the former governor's return, told PEOPLE that "he [Pence] and Karen are going to take some time to think about and pray on what their next steps are."

Pence has deep ties to Indiana, where he was a popular conservative radio show host and local lawmaker before serving four years as governor and then embarking on an oft-controversial term as President Donald Trump's No. 2.

The latest headlines about Pence — whom Forbes estimated in 2019 to be worth roughly $1 million, largely because of the government pensions he will be able to collect starting in June — proved to be fresh fodder for jokes on social media and late-night shows this week.

One user on Twitter quipped that "Mike Pence being homeless was not on my 2021 bingo card."

On Wednesday night, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert ran a segment titled "Would You Let Mike Pence Stay On Your Couch?" It mashed up edited clips from a recent Pence speech, spoofing the former vice president knocking on random residents' doors and inviting himself in to crash with a reluctant host.

Like Trump, whom he had long been loyal to until the fallout from the Capitol riots, Pence has avoided the spotlight since leaving D.C. last week.

(It was not immediately clear who if anyone from his White House staff was advising him; representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday.)

Meanwhile, some observers wondered about another possible dynamic: Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said Wednesday he felt Pence was "in fear for his life" in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

That's when throngs of Trump-supporters breached the building during a joint session of Congress overseen by Pence, intended to certify Joe Biden's election win. Trump, however, had insisted the election was somehow stolen and Pence could reverse the results, which Pence said he did not have the authority to do.

Some of those rioters called out for violence at the Capitol, with video showing chants about hanging Pence. He and other lawmakers temporarily evacuated until the building was clear.

By law, he will have six more months of Secret Service protection after leaving the White House, though that could be extended if necessary.

Pence has long been expected to follow up his vice presidency with a run at the nation's only higher office in 2024. But he hasn't made intentions for his immediate political future clear — something the GOP source says has been a hot topic of conversation among state Republicans, who acknowledge his place of pride back home.

"It's a very popular parlor game in Indiana politics to guess what his next role will be," the source says. "But it's nearly unanimous out here that regardless of what his next move is, the world is his oyster."

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