Political World Lingers In Suspense After Trump Delays VP Announcement

Jul 15, 2016
Originally published on July 15, 2016 1:51 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The attack in Nice, France - in which 84 people were killed, by the most recent count - led Donald Trump to say he is delaying his vice presidential announcement. On Fox News, Trump did not quite say his pick is going to be Mike Pence.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING, FOX NEWS)

DONALD TRUMP: Mike has done a great job as governor of Indiana. You look at the numbers, and it's been a great - you know, he's done really a fantastic job. So, you know, I have - but I haven't made a final, final decision.

INSKEEP: No final, final decision, although a campaign source has said to NPR, for what it's worth, that the choice will be Mike Pence, who is the governor of Indiana and who would drop his re-election bid in order to run for vice president. NPR's Sarah McCammon has been covering the Trump campaign. She's on the line.

Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: So does this delay mean that the choice could change?

MCCAMMON: It could change. You know, Donald Trump is unpredictable. We do have a campaign source telling NPR that it's Mike Pence. Many other news organizations were reporting that yesterday. But then, you know, things changed rapidly. The news of the attacks came. Donald Trump called off a press conference this morning in New York, saying, in light of the attacks, he was going to wait. And then he told - as you said, told Fox News that the decision wasn't final. So it's not out of the question. He could backtrack.

INSKEEP: It is interesting, though, Trump said that he would delay that announcement. But he's been out of the media. He called into Fox News twice last night. I believe Hillary Clinton has been calling into cable television programs, as well. This is clearly something that is relevant, to say the least - this attack - to the presidential campaign.

MCCAMMON: For sure. And, you know, at the moment, basically, that many media were reporting Mike Pence as the VP pick for Donald Trump, this all unfolded. And I should say, there are other finalists - you know, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. So one reporter quoted Gingrich last night as saying that Pence was the decision and that he was not going to be Trump's running mate, but we just don't know right now for sure.

INSKEEP: What has the experience been like for you, as a reporter, the last several days and weeks as this speculation has gone on and on?

MCCAMMON: You know, it's been a lot of speculation for a lot of weeks. And this is typical for, you know, leading up to a vice presidential announcement. But, you know, yesterday was a really unique day, Steve - all of this speculation followed by this horrific news out of France. And I think, you know, many of us are just waiting to see what happens next.

INSKEEP: OK. So if Donald Trump sticks with Mike Pence, what does that do for his campaign?

MCCAMMON: Well, you know, it's certainly - you know, Mike Pence brings a lot of things to the ticket - executive experience, experience in Congress. And, you know, that would still be true. But it's - it would seem a little anticlimactic, potentially, after all of this back and forth to then - maybe tonight or over the weekend - make the announcement that it's Mike Pence. And that doesn't feel like Donald Trump, Steve. Trump's style is to surprise and excite people. And, you know, he has said he hasn't totally made up his mind.

So given all that, it's not hard to imagine him doing something unexpected. But we just don't know.

INSKEEP: Would this be an unusual choice for a vice presidential candidate? Because Pence is very much liked among conservatives, but has a darker reputation among other people who will be criticizing his views on same-sex rights, for example.

MCCAMMON: It could certainly create some my liabilities for Trump in the general election, but it could shore up his status with the GOP base.

INSKEEP: Sarah, thanks very much.

MCCAMMON: Thank you.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon in New York, standing by for Donald Trump's vice presidential announcement. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.