Trump Expected To Name Pence As Running Mate, Sources Tell NPR

Jul 15, 2016
Originally published on July 15, 2016 1:51 pm
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here in the U.S., carnage in Nice created some political ripples. Republican Donald Trump was set to introduce his running mate this morning in New York. He said he was delaying that announcement because of the attack in France. Last night, as NPR and other news organizations confirmed from campaign sources, Trump had settled on Indiana Governor Mike Pence. And these dizzying developments came just before the start of the GOP Convention in Cleveland. NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving is on the line from that city. Good morning.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Does this delay change anything about Trump's decision on a running mate?

ELVING: We don't know that. We don't know whether or not this is actually causing the delay or if the delay is strictly about the tragic events in France. Everything that reporters can learn, at this point, tells us that the decision has been made, that it is Mike Pence and that the job has been offered and has been accepted. But now, that being said, Donald Trump is nothing if not unpredictable. And last night on one TV show, he said he had not made his final final decision.

MONTAGNE: Well, with all indications pointing towards Mike Pence, we do want to learn a bit about him. The Indiana governor is married. He has two daughters and a son. NPR's Don Gonyea has more on his political career. Let's take a listen.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Ind., in 1959. He's a Midwestern governor immediately identifiable by his conservatively-styled silver hair, conservative suits, button-down white shirts and conservative neckties, all to match his politics, which are conservative.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE PENCE: Together we've made Indiana the fiscal envy of the country. We've balanced budgets, funded priorities, and still we were able to pass the largest state tax cut in Indiana history, a win for Indiana taxpayers.

(APPLAUSE)

GONYEA: That's Pence in his 2015 State of the State address. Before he became governor in 2013, he served in Congress for 12 years. He supported the resolution authorizing military force in Iraq. He sponsored the very first bill to defund Planned Parenthood. That was in 2007. This is Pence in that same year in a radio interview on the "The Laura Ingraham Show." He said the nation needs a strong national defense, limited government and less taxes...

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW")

PENCE: And an unambiguous commitment to the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.

GONYEA: Pence left the Congress with no signature legislative victories attached to his name. He ran successfully for governor in 2012. Almost immediately, his name surfaced as a potential presidential candidate. But there was controversy last year. Mainly, it was about legislation that would have allowed businesses to cite religion as a reason to refuse service to LGBT customers. Governor Pence signed it, but the backlash, including from Indiana's business community, was overwhelming. Pence defended it at the time. This is from Fox News.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: Well, let me say first and foremost, I stand by this law. But I understand that the way that some on the left - and frankly, some in the national media - have mischaracterized this law over the last week might make it necessary for us to clarify the law through legislation.

GONYEA: He did later sign a revised version of the law after big corporations threatened to pull the plug on investments in the state. Since then, Pence has gone about his work in relatively quiet fashion, until the vice president slot became a possibility. Pence appeared with Donald Trump at an event in Westfield, Ind., on Tuesday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I often joke, you'll be calling up Mike Pence. I don't know whether he's going to be your governor or your vice president. Who the hell knows?

(APPLAUSE)

GONYEA: Pence, meanwhile, made the most of his tryout that day, lavishing praise on Trump even though he'd endorsed Senator Ted Cruz in the Indiana primary just a couple of months ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: From this day forward, we will unite. We will stand together. We will not relent until we make this good man our next president. My fellow Hoosiers, I give you the next president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.

GONYEA: Now Trump and Pence appear ready to bring that act to a state near you.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Don Gonyea. And, Ron Elving, one of the things that attracts Trump to Pence is that the Indiana governor spent a lot of time in Congress, as we just heard. Talk to us about that.

ELVING: Well, it didn't start, his congressional career, as early as he wanted. He ran the first time, he was only 29 years old. Then he lost, and he spent his 30s doing a radio show, a little bit like Rush Limbaugh. And then he did win six terms in Congress, beginning in the year 2000, chaired the most conservative, or what was then the most conservative, of the various caucuses and later joined the Tea Party caucus as well.

MONTAGNE: And today's a big day. He's in or out, right?

ELVING: He is in or out because the Indiana law does not allow him to run for both vice president...

MONTAGNE: OK.

ELVING: ...And re-election as governor at same time.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Ron Elving in Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.