After postponing the announcement in the wake of the terror attack in Nice, France, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump formally announced Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) as his running mate on Saturday. The announcement was initially made on Twitter Friday morning after Trump tweeted it from his infamous account. An aide to Pence then withdrew his name from the ballot from his gubernatorial bid because of an Indiana law prohibiting a person from appearing on the ballot twice.
Trump and Pence appeared at the New York Hilton Midtown, not Trump Tower, for the announcement. It was closed to the public, but supporters were in attendance. Trump spoke first, switching between speaking about himself and introducing his running mate.
Trump also used the opportunity to attack presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, saying, “Mike Pence is a man of honor character and honestly. We know that. Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of corruption.”
Trump also tried to dismiss reporting from CNN and NBC News that he attempted to go back on Pence as a running mate at the eleventh hour. “Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is my first choice. I also admire the fact that he fights for the people and he also is going to fight for you. He is a solid, solid person.”
He also admitted the need for the party to more fully come together in support of his nomination, “I think if you look at one of the big reasons that I chose Mike — and one of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest. So many people have said party unity. Because I’m an outsider. I want to be an outsider. I think it’s one of the reasons I won in landslides.”
In line with the unusual speech, Trump brought up the fact that Pence endorsed his primary opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, ahead of Indiana’s primary. Trump ended up winning the state and he argued that while Pence endorsed Cruz, he was more supportive of Trump. Trump said, “It was the single greatest non-endorsement I have had in my life.”
Trump then left the stage while Pence spoke.
“I accept your invitation to run and serve as vice president of the United States of America,” he said before saying of Trump, “Donald Trump is a good man and he will make a great president of the United States of America.” Pence’s speech also showed that he may take on the role of attack dog even though he has largely sworn off negative campaigning. His jabs at President Obama and Clinton mainly focused on international policy and how he deemed their policies weak. “History teaches us that weakness arouses evil. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign policy of leading from behind, moving red lines, feigning resets with a resurgent Russia and the rise of ISIS is a testament to this truth of history and we must bring a change to America’s stand in the world.”
“We cannot have four more years apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends.”
The two were later interviewed in Trump Tower by CBS News’s Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes. Pence then went to Chili’s with his family before returning to Indiana for a Welcome Home rally.