Mike Pence

Photo courtesy of Indiana Public Media

Trump to Name Pence for VP Slot;
Decision Official Friday

| published July 14, 2016 |

By R. Alan Clanton, Thursday Review editor

In typical Donald Trump style, tension and drama have been at the core of his decision-making scheme to choose a running mate ahead of the Republican convention, which convenes next week in Cleveland, Ohio. Trump has said he plans to make a major announcement on Friday from his offices in Manhattan, at which time—observers believe—the presumptive GOP nominee will end the suspense.

According to several media sources, Trump may be leaning closely toward Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, a decision crafted in part to bring conservatives more comfortably into Trump movement. At midafternoon on Thursday the Indianapolis Star reported that Pence insiders were telling reporters that Pence had already officially declared that he did not intend to seek re-election in Indiana, another possible sign that Pence has become Trump’s pick.

Over the last four to five days, the businessman has described his short list as containing, variously, four, five, six, or ten names. On Thursday, his team sent word out that the list has been pruned to only two or three possibilities, and, depending on the last minute vetting and discussions, a decision will come no later than Friday.

Most analysts believe that the short list includes, among others, Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. All six have been supportive of Trump’s campaign despite a storm of resistance by many of their fellow Republicans, and Trump has spoken kindly about all on this narrowed list. All have had multiple meetings with Trump, and all have confirmed that discussions have been under way. Between campaign stops, Trump met with both Pence and Gingrich for hour-long private conversations in Indianapolis this week. Earlier in the week, Trump also met with Sessions.

Christie, who endorsed Trump early in the primary and caucus season, has seen his stock rise steadily as a fixture on the campaign trail and at Trump events. Pence, Gingrich and Corker are also regarded as finalists, though none have offered any clues as to whether they regard themselves as front runners for the job.

Pence is widely considered by most political analysts to be near—if not at—the very top of the list; his reliable conservative credentials mean that Trump will have an easier time getting traditional conservatives and movement conservatives—largely wary of Trump’s often shifting positions on critical issues—on board. Pence is also a more subdued and cautious figure—a counter-balance, many have argued, to Trump’s more flashy, often mercurial style.

Sessions, who became a Trump supporter very early in the primary and caucus season, is popular in his home state of Alabama and is seen also as a reliable, consistent conservative with wide appeal to GOP regulars who will want balance on the ticket. Sessions have acknowledged to reporters that he remains on Trump’s short list, but some observers suggest that Trump may tap Session’s legislative skills and deep political experience for another role in a Trump administration.

Trump sent out word via social media that he will make an official announcement about his decision on Friday 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, media talk of Pence has reached a fever pitch, with several newspapers and news sources reporting details of the Trump-Pence partnership. Trump campaign spokespersons are stressing that nothing is official until Friday, but sources close to Pence—as well as some insiders within the Republican National Committee—are confirming that Pence will b Trump’s choice.

Related Thursday Review articles:

The GOP Challenge: Find the White Knight; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; April 19, 2014.

Media Reports: Elizabeth Warren Out as Clinton VP; Thursday Review staff writers; Thursday Review; July 13, 2016.