WASHINGTON, United States, Jul 15 – Republican White House candidate Donald Trump on Friday announced Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his choice for vice president, ending weeks of intense speculation and putting a conservative stalwart on the ticket.
“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate,” Trump posted on Twitter, adding that he would host a press conference Saturday at 11am (1500 GMT).
Trump had earlier stated he would reveal his pick at a Friday press conference in New York, but postponed it after Thursday’s horrific attack in Nice, France that left at least 84 people dead.
Pence, 57, brings all-important executive and congressional experience to the ticket, which could assuage concerns among some conservatives that the Trump lacks governing knowledge or the skills to navigate Congress.
Pence spent 12 years in the House of Representatives, many of those on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, headed up a conservative caucus, and also spent time in House leadership. He has been Indiana’s governor since January 2013.
He is also seen as having a cool-headed tone and steady hand that could counter the impulsive, often brash Trump, and his social conservatism could allay fears about Trump’s views on issues such as abortion.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign reacted swiftly, calling Pence “the most extreme pick in a generation.”
“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,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement.
While US media had reported Trump was set to formally pick Pence, Trump had stayed mum on his choice during television interviews Thursday during which he explained he was postponing his announcement out of respect for the victims of the Nice attack.
But he stressed that he had “great respect for Governor Pence,” as well as for two other men on the short list, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who are more blunt and outspoken but also more unpredictable than Pence.
Seen as disciplined and relatively discreet, the Christian conservative Pence was apparently the favorite of Trump’s children, who exercise much influence as the political neophyte campaigns for president.
The announcement comes three days before the opening of the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland, Ohio, where Trump will officially become the party’s presidential nominee.