Donald Trump has officially introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.
“I’ve found the leader who will help us deliver a safe society and a prosperous, really prosperous society for all Americans,” Trump said at a campaign event in New York Saturday. “Indiana Governor Mike Pence was my first choice.”
Trump spoke at length about his admiration for Pence’s record in Indiana. “He’s really got the skills of a highly talented executive,” he said.
And while Trump said he primarily based his decision by examining Pence’s work as Indiana governor, he added that party unity was also a factor, without elaborating. Other reasons for his pick: “[H]e looks very good, and he’s got an incredible family.”
“I accept your invitation to run and serve as vice president of the United States of America,” Pence told the crowd, adding that he “comes to this moment deeply humbled, and with a grateful heart.”
He offered remarks introducing himself: “People who know me well know that I’m a pretty basic guy. I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
NPR’s Ron Elving has laid out the dramatic week leading up to this news conference:
“First, Trump’s choice of Pence began to leak on Thursday and got widely reported. Very widely reported. Trump tried to reel it back in by telling a Fox News host he had not made his “final final decision.” There have been reports that Trump was still having serious doubts about Pence on Thursday night, looking for a way out. …
“Just as the Pence drama was unfolding, an attacker with no apparent ties to any known terrorist group drove a truck into a huge crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France. More than 80 people were killed, more than 200 injured. Trump saw the horror on TV and impulsively tweeted a postponement of his planned announcement.
“On Friday, however, the magnitude of the dilemma became apparent. Pence had to withdraw officially as the Republican candidate for governor by noon, as Indiana state law forbids running for two offices at once. So Trump, again via Twitter, announced Pence as his pick at 11 a.m.”
Trump also used the campaign event to fire off criticism of his rival Hillary Clinton and address a number of other issues, including the manufacturing industry, evangelicals, and foreign policy.
He also spoke about the deadly attack Thursday in France where a driver mowed into a crowded promenade, killing at least 84 people. “I want to express our unyielding support for the people of France and we mourn their loss as a nation,” he said. He reiterated that he would get tough with radical Islamic terrorism.
“You saw it the other day with the truck, screaming out the window. You heard what he was screaming out the window,” Trump said. However, French officials have not indicated thus far that the suspect was shouting as he carried out the attack.