It would be a drastic understatement to say that bizarre circumstances surrounded Donald Trump’s vice presidential announcement. While he had planned to announce his decision for the position last Friday in New York, the heinous terror attack in Nice, France forced the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to suspend his formal release. However, reporters had been following the individuals on the short list of potential candidates and determined that Indiana Governor Mike Pence was the pick before Trump could even declare it. In fact, the media was so focused on the question that major outlets placed teams around the airports in Indiana to determine whether or not Pence was on a plane heading to New York for Trump’s announcement. Now that we know for certain that Pence is the man Trump has selected to be his vice president and running mate, there are several things we should know about him.
Pence has served in public office for roughly 16 years, spending the bulk of that period in congress and the rest serving as Indiana’s governor. He is generally well-respected in Republican circles, branding himself as a far-Right conservative with an emphasis on religious liberties. The Washington Post reports that “he's got social conservative cred that could shore up support for the ticket among evangelicals who are wary of Trump.” And, while Trump has denied the need for outside help to secure that wing of the Republican Party, this pick certainly will not hurt his ability to do so.
Pence is the governor behind the famous religious freedom act that garnered significant media attention last year. The bill “extends legal protections to Indiana business owners who didn't want to participate in same-sex weddings, citing their religious beliefs.” Activists protested that this opened the gate for widespread discrimination against non-heterosexual individuals, and amidst tremendous pressure from liberal groups, Pence signed into force an amendment that would prevent the law from being used to discriminate against gay people. On a similar note, Pence has signed into law some of the nation’s strictest abortion protocols, a move consistent with his self-proclaimed title as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."
It’s also important to note that Pence has spoken out against Trump’s remarks and policies in the past and even endorsed Ted Cruz for president. The governor has criticized Trump’s rhetoric surrounding Arizona Senator John McCain as well as his famed anti-Muslim ban.
And perhaps the most important piece of Trump’s selection is the fact that he is well-connected to the Koch brothers. While some do not expect the Koch brothers to get involved with Trump’s campaign regardless of Pence’s vice presidential status, many of Pence’s top aides have worked alongside the conservative financiers, and that could prove to be crucial for Trump’s fundraising efforts.
Hillary Clinton is also expected to announce her vice presidential selection in coming days.
What do you think about Trump’s VP pick, Mike Pence?