Donald Trump named Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate Friday, adding to the Republican ticket a traditional conservative who boasts strong credentials with the Christian right, and bringing an end to a vice presidential selection process that seemed at risk of spinning out of control. Trump announced the choice shortly before 11 a.m., the time at which he had planned to unveil his selection at an event in Manhattan. But instead of a showy rollout in a Midtown hotel, Trump named Pence as his running mate on Twitter, after abruptly canceling their joint event in the aftermath of the attack in Nice, France, on Thursday.
By choosing Pence as his partner, Trump has opted both to bow to political convention and to gamble on a comparatively untested choice. Pence cuts a far more generic political profile than Trump; he is viewed by Republicans in Washington and Indiana as a sturdy and predictable politician. At the same time, Pence has a record of hard-line views on cultural issues that Trump has tended to downplay in the presidential race. Trump and Pence, who have no friendship that predates the campaign, are expected to appear together in public Saturday. The Trump campaign previously committed to a joint interview on the CBS show “60 Minutes.”
Trump had previously said he considered the circumstances Friday inopportune for rolling out a major political decision, before reversing course and naming Pence as his running mate on social media. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, said Friday on Fox News that the presumptive Republican nominee had responded emotionally to the violence in France in deciding to delay a formal event with his running mate.
Yet with Pence as the favored candidate, Trump could not afford a long delay in making his decision public. The Indiana governorship is on the ballot in November, and state law required Pence to file paperwork by noon Friday to withdraw from the race and be replaced on the ballot by another Republican. Without a public affirmation of his partnership with Trump, Pence could have been placed in an uncomfortable position — forced either to end his bid for re-election without an irreversible commitment from Trump, or to abandon his quest for the vice presidency due to an accident of scheduling.