Balancing act: Mike Pence lends stability to Trump ticket

For many establishment Republicans, the selection of a 'heart-and-soul' conservative as Trump's running mate is a vital step toward unifying the party.

Michael Conroy/AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves the Indiana Governor's residence with Gov. Mike Pence in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Mr. Trump officially announced his selection of Governor Pence as his running mate on Twitter on Friday.

After much fanfare and speculation surrounding which of a short list of politicians Donald Trump might choose as his running mate, he announced on Twitter Friday that he settled on Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

Mr. Trump’s decision was broadly lauded by establishment Republicans who see Governor Pence as a "heart-and-soul" conservative with an established political career whose calm demeanor could provide the perfect counterbalance to Mr. Trump's "hot headed," sometimes impulsive ways.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who initially reserved support for Trump, even as he became the party's presumed nominee, expressed enthusiasm for Pence, saying he appeared the strongest candidate to unite the fragments of the GOP that have been reluctant to support Trump.

"I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate. We need someone who is steady and secure in his principles, someone who can cut through the noise and make a compelling case for conservatism. Mike Pence is that man," the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement Friday.

The Pence pick has likely allowed many establishment Republicans a sigh of relief, writes The Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier:

Pence is non-abrasive where Trump is human sandpaper. He’s calm, a word seldom used in a sentence with 'Trump.' He has executive governing experience and served 12 years in Congress. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a conservative the Republican right trusts....

Republican elite/establishment figures have not been wild about either former House Speaker Gingrich or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as Trump’s stable mate. True, both have governing experience. But both are Trumpian in their own blustery way. Would Trump really want “two pirates” as a ticket, as Gingrich so memorably put it this week?

Presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign slammed Trump’s selection.

"By picking Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump has doubled down on some of his most disturbing beliefs by choosing an incredibly divisive and unpopular running mate known for supporting discriminatory politics and failed economic policies that favor millionaires and corporations over working families," said Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Of course, the very issues that the Clinton campaign challenges about Trump's selection are likely high selling points for Republicans who have been uncertain how committed Trump is to the conservative positions he has taken on the campaign trail.

Trump praised Pence’s job in Indiana and said that of all the running mates he’d interviewed for the position, “there’s nobody that agrees with me fully on everything,” Reuters reports.

Trump’s announcement that he’d chosen Pence was timely, as the governor faced a midday deadline to declare whether he would run for re-election in his home state. Trump had been expected to make his announcement Thursday night, but delayed until Friday morning after news of the terrorist attack in Nice, France came through on Thursday night. A more detailed press conference on the decision is planned for 11 a.m. on Saturday.

This report contains material from Reuters.

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