COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - "That my son, Henry D.," Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC) said with a smile.
"And that's my dad," Henry D. responded with a smirk. "The governor."
"Good call," the governor said through laughter.
During an interview with WIS at the Governor's Mansion, it didn't take long for Governor McMaster and his son to crack themselves up.
"A lot of fun. A lot of laughs," Henry D. said when asked about his dad.
"Good answer," the governor shot back.
"Yeah," said Henry D., "Known him my whole life. He tells some good stories."
But besides the laughs and the stories, the two share another bond – a passion for prosecuting – and it's a bit of a McMaster family tradition.
"Well, my daddy, Henry D's grandfather, was a lawyer, and he practiced here in Columbia," said Governor McMaster.
"And, it's funny, to add onto that, one of my mentors in law school, the first day he met me, he said, 'We loved – we would cut class from law school to go watch John Gregg go try cases," Henry D. added.
"He had an expression," his father continued. "He said, 'If you're not nervous when you're going into trial, then you really don't understand what it is you're getting ready to do. You gotta be nervous. You must be thoroughly prepared.'"
John Gregg McMaster, who died at age 100 in 2015, influenced his son's life. Before he was governor, Henry McMaster tried cases as a U.S. Attorney and then South Carolina Attorney General. Each and every day, he says he sees more of his dad in himself.
"The older I get, the more everything I do it seems I can remember him doing the same thing," said the governor. "It's really quite remarkable."
"I feel the same way," Henry D. interrupted with a smile.
Now, Henry D. is following in his father's footsteps. He's been an assistant state prosecutor in the Lancaster area since February. Among other areas, he focuses on domestic violence cases.
"It gives these victims a voice when a lot of times they wouldn't have one otherwise," Henry D. said.
Henry D. said he's noticed the trail blazed by his father, namely a program that McMaster, as Attorney General, instituted that allows private attorneys to work pro bono to prosecute more domestic violence cases better and faster.
"My daddy…tried his last case as a domestic violence case," the governor said. "He was one of our domestic pro-bono prosecutors. He was one of the first one's that signed up, and he tried his last one at 93 and won it. / Jefferson spoke of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, that happiness is a real word, and it's a big word."
Three generations of McMasters have found their happiness by pursuing it for others in the courtroom. But one question remains: will there be a fourth generation?
"Well, son?" the governor asked through laughter.
"Little early. Three weeks in," said his recently-married son.