Donald Trump To Pick Mike Pence As Running Mate, Reports Say

If reports are correct, Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be Donald Trump's choice for a running mate.

Mike Pence Donald Trump

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Donald Trump will pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence at his running mate, an announcement that will be made official at an event in New York City tomorrow morning:

Donald J. Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.

Mr. Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Mr. Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Mr. Trump in New York on Friday.

Mr. Pence, a former congressman and radio host, emerged over the last week as the strong favorite of Mr. Trump’s political advisers and senior officials in the Republican Party.

But Mr. Trump himself has sent conflicting signals in recent days, as he has subjected his potential running mates to a final round of screening. He addressed a rally in Indiana alongside Mr. Pence on Tuesday night and met privately with him several times.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump and his children threw together a hasty series of conversations with other finalists in the vice-presidential search, including Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

Paul Manafort, the chairman of the Trump campaign, said that the campaign had not notified anyone of a final decision on the running mate.

“We have not been reaching out to Washington to tell them to prepare for any particular candidate,” Mr. Manafort said, when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

He reiterated that Mr. Trump would announce his selection in Manhattan on Friday.

A low-key man largely defined in public life by his Christian faith, Mr. Pence, 57, is seen as a cautious choice of running mate — a political partner who is unlikely to embarrass Mr. Trump, and who may help him shore up support among conservative voters still wary of his candidacy.

His staunch conservative views on certain social issues, like gay rights and abortion, may inject a new set of concerns into the general election debate that have been largely overlooked with Mr. Trump at the top of the Republican ticket.

Republicans on Capitol Hill reacted with a mixture of applause and relief to the news of Mr. Trump’s likely selection. Mr. Pence is viewed in Washington as a conventional politician with standard-issue conservative beliefs, including on some subjects where his policy instincts plainly conflict with Mr. Trump’s.

Mr. Pence has endorsed free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Asian trade deal that Mr. Trump has described as a “rape” of the American economy. He voted for the Iraq war, which Trump has condemned, and last winter he denounced Mr. Trump’s call to ban all Muslim immigration into the United States.

If those views place Mr. Pence at odds with Mr. Trump, they are in line with the outlook of Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who praised him on Wednesday.

“It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Mike Pence’s,” said Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House from Wisconsin. “We’re very good friends. I have very high regard for him. I hope that he picks a good movement conservative. Clearly Mike is one of those.”

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said picking Mr. Pence would be a “good move by Donald Trump.” Mr. McConnell, who has sharply rebuked Mr. Trump in recent weeks for his indiscipline on the campaign trail, said he would “look forward to enthusiastically supporting the ticket.”

For Mr. Trump, selecting Mr. Pence would be a sharp departure from habit, and the surest sign yet that he intends to submit to at least some standard political pressures in the general election.

In the past, Mr. Trump has leaned heavily on a tiny circle of trusted friends and advisers, and has crafted his major political decisions to shock and titillate the news media and Republican primary voters.

But Mr. Pence is a laid-back personality who does not have the same set of showman’s instincts as Mr. Trump or other vice-presidential contenders like Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Christie.

In addition to this report from The New York Times, similar reports have also been posted by The Washington PostPoliticoRoll Call, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Postall seemingly independently.  Fox News Channel, meanwhile, is reporting that Pence is taking steps to abandon his re-election bid for Governor in seeming preparation for tomorrow’s announcement, while other news outlets are reporting that former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who now serves as President of Purdue University, is being heavily lobbied by Indiana Republican insiders to mount a bid to return to the Governor’s Mansion as a replacement for Pence on the ballot. Daniels was barred from seeking a third consecutive term as Governor, but it would appear that Indiana law allows him to seek another term now that he has been out of office for the entirety of Pence’s time in office. Daniels, however, has said that he will not mount a bid to return to the Governor’s Mansion if Pence is selected as Trump’s running mate, so it would appear that Indiana Republicans will have to look elsewhere.

Pence’s name was a late entry to the Republican “Veepstakes” in that his name first entered the fray just two weeks ago when Trump first met with him at the urging of both Campaign Manager Paul Manifort and other Republican insiders and Trump’s own children, who have been heavily involved in the selection process to the point that at least one of them has been present for each of tUphe one-on-one meetings that Trump has had with various candidates that he’s been considering since formally clinching the Republican nomination. As I noted at the time, while Pence did fulfill at least one of Trump’s pre-stated criteria for a running mate in that he is seemingly well-suited to help a prospective President Trump navigate Capitol Hill, especially when it comes to relationships with leadership and the budget process, there is also much about the two men that demonstrates the extent to which they are seemingly opposites. Pence, for example, is decidedly in the socially conservative side of the GOP to whom social issues such as abortion and marriage have been particularly important issues of late, Trump has largely avoided these issues. Additionally, Pence’s tenure as Indiana Governor has had its ups and downs, and those downs are likely to follow him to the Presidential race if he is in fact Trump’s selection. Finally,  unlike two of Trump’s other final candidates, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, Trump has not had much of a relationship at all with Pence up until now and it may be difficult for him to develop the level of confidence he typically claims to need in close associates.

On a final note it’s worth noting that all of these reports today indicating that Trump has all but officially chosen Pence could turn out to be incorrect. Eight years ago, there was similar speculation about the ‘final choice’ on both sides for both Barack Obama and John McCain that turned out to be wrong. In Obama’s case, it was being openly reported that the Democratic nominee had chosen then Indiana Senator Evan Bayh to be his running mate, while McCain was said to have selected then Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. While Bayh and Pawlenty were apparently both finalists for the respective positions, in the end the Democratic nod, of course, went to Joe Biden and  John McCain selected Sarah Palin, a move that at first energized his campaign significantly but ultimately backfired as Palin revealed that she was completely unprepared for the job she was selected for. It’s possible that the same thing could happen with Pence and that Trump will end up picking someone else. Given Trump’s love of surprises and turning events like tomorrow’s announcement into spectacles, that’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Update: The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Pence is taking the steps needed to get himself off the ballot for Governor, and the top political reporter for a local television station in Indianapolis passes on the news that the Governor is reportedly on a plane headed east:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I take particular pleasure from the public humiliation of Chris Christie. He sold his soul, sold his pride and spent months giving Trump public handjobs, and got nothing to show for it. But then, that’s what happens to everyone who does business with Trump. Psychopaths are not people you want to get into bed with.

    And Pence? One of the stupidest men in American politics, now taking over the Chris Christie role as toady-in-chief for the Rancid Pumpkin.

    Is self-respect entirely out of fashion? Is there nothing these people won’t stoop to just to hold onto a tiny little slice of power? It’s just nauseating. I mean, goddamn, I had more pride when I was cleaning toilets on Cape Cod. Yuck.

  2. Moosebreath says:

    And The Onion preserved its claim towards being America’s finest news source:

    “Weaknesses: Overt prejudices against homosexuals, Syrian refugees, immigrants, welfare recipients, and abortion patients doesn’t bring anything particularly new to Trump campaign”

  3. Pete S says:

    I just don’t see the upside for Pence, except a handy excuse for leaving a governor’s race that he seemed to be losing. Unless he figures he has a reasonable chance of becoming president if Trump hits the 27% chance and wins the election but whether voluntarily or not does not complete his term. It might be a better gamble for Pence than trying to distinguish himself in a primary with 12-15 nutjobs in it.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    This is brilliant on Trumps part…he needed to find someone dumber than him. He did.
    Between the two their IQ may be 95.
    The Clinton campaign must be doing back-flips.
    My comment from another thread:

    Reports are out that Trump is picking Mike Pence as his running mate.
    Pence is one of the dumbest guys I have ever heard talk. Just flat out stupid. Bush was intellectually lazy and un-curious. Pence is just dumb.
    Does anyone else remember Obama making Pence look like an idiot during that Republican Retreat in 2010? I was embarrassed for Pence. It was almost as bad as when Obama made Trump look the fool during that Correspondents dinner.
    Apparently Indiana can’t wait to be rid of him. In Pence, Trump gets a guy that is right out of the 1800’s in social views. And a resident of Republican fantasy land when it comes to economics.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Does anyone else remember Obama making Pence look like an idiot during that Republican Retreat in 2010?

    He chastised Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) for calling his economic agenda radical and poked fun at the GOP’s own platform. “I am not an ideologue, I’m not,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense if somebody could tell me, ‘You could do this cheaper and get increased results,’ then I would say, ‘Great.’ The problem is, I couldn’t find credible economists who could back up the claims that you just made.”

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Having said all that…I’ll bet a 6-pack of Double IPA that this is a head-fake.

  7. Gustopher says:

    @C. Clavin: Well, now that everyone knows, and Trump wants to remain unpredictable… he might change his mind.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    I’m still hoping for the Lizard.

  9. Jeremy R says:

    Pence, for example, is decidedly in the socially conservative side of the GOP to whom social issues such as abortion and marriage have been particularly important issues of late, Trump has largely avoided these issues.

    Hasn’t Trump been pretty clear that his SCOTUS picks will be way to the Right on social issues?

    WALLACE: But, Mr. Trump, let’s take one issue. You say now that the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is the law of the land and that any politician who talks about wanting to amend the Constitution is just playing politics. Are you saying it’s time to move on?

    TRUMP: No, I’m saying this. It has been ruled up. It has been there. If I’m a, you know, if I’m elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things.

    WALLACE: But — but just to button this up very quickly, sir, are you saying that if you become president, you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?

    TRUMP: I would strongly consider that, yes.

    “Even though I’m going to appoint great judges, you know, we could have as many as five judges and she’s going to appoint super radical liberals, and I’m appointing, you know, you saw the eleven names I gave, and we’re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society”

  10. Scott says:

    Nothing smells like success than picking someone with a 40% approval rating.

  11. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Why would I expect self-respect and character from the people who are willing to burn the country to the ground as long as they get to run the ashes? This is the Republicans–the party of Jenos, JKB, Jack, Guarneri– we’re talking about.

  12. Jen says:

    Apparently, it has been confirmed that Trump has asked Pence, and Pence has accepted. They have decided to postpone tomorrow’s announcements in light of the attack in France.

  13. edmondo says:

    Nothing smells like success than picking someone with a 40% approval rating.

    The Democrats would be lucky if the head of their ticket ever gets that high.

    “Only 28 percent view her as honest. Clinton’s ratings on honesty….”

  14. wr says:

    I can’t wait until Little Jenos starts posting rapturous messages about how wonderful Pence is, and then explains how he’s not really backing the guy.

  15. Jen says:

    If Pence is indeed the pick, they’re certainly running the clock down in Indiana. He has a noon deadline today since he can’t be on the ballot twice, and according to Sean Sullivan at WaPo, Pence hasn’t withdrawn his name from the Gov. ballot yet.

  16. KM says:

    Does this mean Periods for Pence can expand and send them to care of the Donald as well? It even ties in with helping him determine the “wherever” blood comes from that he was so confused with. Poetic justice and all that.

    Poor Secret Service; that’s gonna be some messy job…..

  17. steve s says:

    Gotta say, edmondo was right this time. Scott scored an own goal.