Trump tweets his VP choice — Indiana Gov. Pence

Julie Pace and Jill Colvin
Associated Press

Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate on Friday was cheered by conservatives who have been leery of Trump as he tries to unite the party heading into their national convention next week in Cleveland.

Democrats met the news with delight as they pointed out all the ways Trump and Pence, 57, disagree on issues ranging from free tradet o temporarily banning Muslim immigration.

“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate,” Trump tweeted. Pence said on Twitter he was“honored” to join Trump “and work to make America great again.”

The choice of Pence, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years,was a nod to the socially conservative wing of the Republican Party and to the Rust Belt, a region crucial to Trump’schances of victory. It adds significant government experience to Trump’so utsider campaign for the White House.

An Indiana native and former radio talk-show host who became a born-again Christian in college, Pence has championed limited government and social causes, such as opposition to abortion, that appealed to conservatives and evangelicals.

‘A Compelling Case’

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who initially withheld his endorsement of Trump after the billionaire clinched the nomination, praised Pence’s selection.

“Mike Pence comes from the heart of the conservative movement,” Ryan said in a statement.“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.”

Tea Party groups embraced theselection of one of their own.

“Governor Mike Pence provides the opportunity to give GOP voters still undecided about Donald Trump a reason to unite and to vote for a more principled ticket,” said Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin in a statement.

Pence, as the No. 3 House Republican leader in 2009, was an early backer of the emerging Tea Party movement,a grassroots conservative protest against big federal government.

Chaotic hours

Anticipation — and confusion — ran high surrounding Trump’s running-mate choice after he scrapped a planned announcement event scheduled for Friday in light of a deadly terrorist attack in France. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Friday in TV interviews that Trump, 70, was now planning a weekend announcement before the campaign moved to Cleveland, and that he didn’t think Trump’s choice would be officially revealed anytime on Friday.

CNN later reported, citing an unidentified source, that the Trump campaign was in fact planning to announce Pence’s selection Friday, then for Trump and Pence to campaign together for the first time Saturday in New Jersey.

Trump and Pence will appear Saturday at 11 a.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Trump vs. Pence

Trade: Pence has been a longtime, aggressive advocate of trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump wants to revoke NAFTA — signed by Bill Clinton in 1993 — and do away with the Obama administration-negotiated TPP. .

Immigration: Pence came out against Trump’s proposed temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States in November. He said on Twitter that, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.”

Gay rights and abortion: Trump has also distanced himself from social conservatives, saying Planned Parenthood “has done very good work” for some women and questioning Republican efforts to require transgendered people to use the bathrooms of their natural-born gender. Pence, in contrast, is a well-known social conservative who proposed defunding Planned Parenthood in 2007 and urged blocking the entire federal budget in 2011 in hopes of closing down the nonprofit organization.

Foreign policy: Trump has repeatedly called the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake. Pence voted to authorize the invasion and was a vocal backer of the war.

Associated Press