“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.,” Trump Tweeted at 10:50 am Friday.
Reports had been emerging all week that Pence would be the nominee. Trump had no choice but to announce the decision this morning because Pence had until noon Friday to file papers declaring he would run for reelection as governor, and if he didn’t, the choice would be obvious. Trump had planned an announcement Friday morning but delayed it because of the terrorist attack in France.
Predictably, the Clinton campaign released an statement assailing Pence as an extremist, which is what they would have said about any conservative choice.
“By picking Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump has doubled down on some of his most disturbing beliefs by choosing an incredibly divisive and unpopular running mate known for supporting discriminatory politics and failed economic policies that favor millionaires and corporations over working families,” said John Podesta, chair of Clinton campaign. “Pence is the most extreme pick in a generation and was one of the earliest advocates for the Tea Party. He was the first of GOP leadership to join Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus,” Podesta said.
In fact, Pence is a responsible choice. He is a respected former senior House lawmaker and the current governor of Indiana, giving him both legislative and executive experience. And he is a cool hand who will provide a contrast to Trump’s volatility.
But Pence has raised some red flags among conservatives who wonder why he has joined Trump, whose positions have varied over the years, and why he once caved to Obama on Obamacare.
“Pence decided to join other big government Republicans and embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,” Phil Klein wrote Friday in the Washington Examiner. “He instantly went from hero to zero for many conservatives who care about limiting the size of government.”
Sen. Marco Rubio said Pence was a “great pick,” terming him “rock solid.”