With a simple tweet, Donald Trump confirmed this morning who will be his running-mate.
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
It answers the question “What happens when a Republican presidential nominee wants the governor of must-win Ohio on their ticket but can’t have him?”
You pick the guy from next door Indiana.
Make no mistake: This election will be about Donald Trump. There is no one alive he could have chosen to take the spotlight off himself. And Trump knows it. So he chose a bland, vanilla, soft spoken Midwestern longtime politician to be at his side.
Not a bad move at all.
Pence, 57, is a former House leader and part of the far-right evangelical wing of the Republican Party. He had endorsed Ted Cruz prior to his states primary. But, unlike Ohio Governor John Kasich, he quickly endorsed Trump after Cruz exited the race. Facing his own tough reelection battle this fall, Pence had privately hoped to be tapped for the running-mate role.
Indiana traditionally goes Republican in presidential elections and is not a swing state like Ohio, Florida or Virginia. Trump picked Pence not to appeal to battleground independents, but to shore up conservatives in the already red states.
Kasich would have been the top pick in this election cycle. A popular two-term governor of the state Republicans have needed to win since 1860. But Trump was incapable of courting Kasich, and the Ohio governor is skipping out attending Trump’s coronation next week in his own state.
Many evangelicals and conservatives are pleased with the choice. Anti-abortion activists were particularly happy, with Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, saying, “Mike Pence is a pro-life trailblazer and Mr. Trump could not have made a better choice.”
Other conservatives however, including the outspoken Ann Coulter who has been a Trump supporter, were not as giddy.
Pence is the combo-platter of disaster. For details, see what I just posted on my Facebook page.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 14, 2016
In her Facebook post, Coulter slammed Pence for flip-flopping on gay marriage and being soft on immigration.
On the issues, Pence:
- Believes is big tax cuts, having repealed Indiana’s inheritance tax and lowered taxes on corporate income and business property.
- Signed an anti-gay “religious freedom” law that he later was forced to amend due to a national boycott of Indiana.
- Signed laws limiting women’s access to legal abortions, prompting a #PeriodsforPence campaign on social media.
- Supported the Iraq war, while Trump opposed it.
- Called Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims “offensive and unconstitutional.”
- Has an “A” rating from the NRA.
- Supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal while Trump opposes it.
- Was one of only 25 GOP congressmen to oppose President Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy.
Pence is married with three children. If Trump wins this November, there is a very good chance Pence will become the 46th president at some point during the next four years.
In response, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta said that Trump has chosen “the most extreme” vice presidential candidate “in a generation.”