Mike Pence introduced as Trump’s vice-president pick after days of uncertainty | The Knowledge Dynasty

Mike Pence introduced as Trump’s vice-president pick after days of uncertainty

At a Manhattan event held a day late after the Nice terror attack, the candidate lauds Indiana governor despite reports he had preferred Chris Christie

After a week of uncharacteristic hesitation and second-guessing, Donald Trump formally introduced the Indiana governor, Mike Pence, as his vice-presidential running mate on Saturday.

The event, at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, was crafted not only as a curtain-raiser for the Republican national convention that begins in Cleveland on Monday but also as an opportunity to make a virtue of the differences between the politically inexperienced, ideologically freewheeling candidate and Pence, an unflappable conservative with evangelical Christian credentials and experience in office inside and outside of Washington.

The event itself, however, was not particularly slick. After a rambling introduction from Trump, which touched on well-worn campaign talking points as well as the Nice terror attack and the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Pence mentioned getting the call from Trump on Wednesday.

The phrase was somewhat jarring. Trump announced his selection of Pence on Friday. He was, however, reported to have long hesitated and hedged over the pick, almost up to the moment it was made official.

The billionaire was reportedly leaning toward the New Jersey governor Chris Christie, only to be persuaded by his children and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to follow not gut instinct but political pragmatism. Trumps children had previously preferred the former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Manafort has strongly rejected reports that the candidate considered changing his mind.

Never waffled once he made his decision, he wrote in an email cited by a number of media outlets.

The Clinton campaign seized on Trumps apparent indecision, however, releasing a web video entitled: Always divisive. Not so decisive.

The choice was aided by chance: Trumps plane burst a tire in Indianapolis, forcing him to spend more time with Pence in his home state.

On Saturday, Trump called Pence a man of character, honor and honesty and a solid, solid person.

He and Pence were the the law and order candidates, he said, adding that a Trump administration would be far tougher on foreign and domestic terrorism than a White House under his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Pence would also help him restore manufacturing jobs and protect religious freedom, he said.

Donald
Donald Trump and Mike Pence appear with family members. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA

In words likely to be welcomed by evangelical supporters of Pence who signed and then amended a controversial religious freedom law in Indiana in 2015 Trump said he would follow the Republican policy platform and seek to repeal the Johnson amendment in the IRS tax code. The amendment prohibits not-for-profit tax-exempt entities, including religious organisations, from taking political positions without risk of losing their tax exempt status.

Were going to let the people of faith speak, Trump said. The people who live in fear that theyre going to lose their tax exempt status. Religion is going to have a voice because it has been taken away. Were going to bring it back.

Trump said Pences selection was partially driven by a desire to promote party unity, and said he was happy to learn that the Republican Never Trump movement against him had been crushed this week, ahead of the convention.

Following Trump, Pence praised the candidates pledges to repeal Obamacare, revive the coal industry and toughen the nations immigration policy. He also invoked his small-town roots.

I am deeply humbled and thank God for his amazing grace, Pence said. These are good people and Donald Trump gets it. Who am I, oh Lord, to have been brought this far? Im a small town boy from southern Indiana who has a front row seat to the American dream.

Neither Trump nor Pence made note of their policy differences. The Indiana governor has been an advocate of trade deals such as Nafta and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump opposes, and has also criticized Trumps proposed temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the US, calling the idea offensive and unconstitutional.

In his remarks, Trump said he had been impressed by Pences leadership in Indiana, singling out the states balanced budget, job growth and education reforms. He made no mention of his own controversial decision to postpone his introduction of Pence, originally scheduled for Friday, after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice.

Weve witnessed the Islamic horror beyond belief, he said, and believe me, thats going to change. Mike Pence will never be afraid to shout the name of our enemy: radical Islam.

Trumps introduction of Pence was preceded by blasts of the Rolling Stones hit You Cant Always Get What You Want. The pair may also come to reconsider their campaigns other pre-event music: the fast section of a track by Elton John.

For one thing, the British musician is, with spouse David Furnish, parent to two young children an arrangement the evangelical, anti-gay marriage Pence would certainly oppose.

Furthermore, the song in question has a title that could prove awkward if the Trump-Pence ticket fails to generate the necessary campaign-trail chemistry: Funeral for a Friend.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/16/mike-pence-donald-trump-vice-president-announcement

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