Multiple reports Thursday morning indicate that Donald Trump is going to officially announce Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. So who is Mike Pence and where does he stand with — and against — Trump?
Pence has served as the Republican governor of Indiana since 2013. Before that he represented the Hoosier State in Congress from 2001 to 2013.
In Dec. 2015, he criticized Trump for his proposed ban on all Muslims entering the nation, calling it “offensive and unconstitutional.”
Shortly before his state’s GOP primary Pence announced (in a somewhat tepid fashion) that he was endorsing Ted Cruz. As it happened, Indiana turned out to be Cruz’s last stand. He came in second to Trump, capturing 36% of the vote, and he suspended his campaign shortly thereafter.
If Trump was looking to shore up his ticket’s credentials with social conservatives and evangelicals, Pence, a devout evangelical, was arguably his safest bet. He has called himself “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Pence came under nationwide scrutiny last year after he signed into law a controversial “religious freedom” bill, which some believed gave businesses latitude to discriminate, a charge Pence vociferously denied. After the bill prompted major backlash, Pence backed a bill with softened language, inviting the ire of some social conservatives who thought Pence had not held his ground.
Pence also signed into law one of the most expansive anti-abortion laws in the country. A federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional and blocked it before it went into effect.
Despite his opposition to ObamaCare, he expanded Medicaid in Indiana under the controversial law. “This has been a long process, but real reform takes work,” he said of the expansion last year.
Like Trump, Pence has voiced his opposition to Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States. He ordered Indiana agencies to refuse to aid in any effort to relocate refugees in the state; that order was blocked by a judge.
For another point of contrast with Trump, Pence has a reputation for being calm and unruffled. The onetime talk radio show host once described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.”
A Public Opinion poll from April shows that 49 % of Hoosiers support Pence for re-election. Pence announced last year that he would seek the governorship again, but sources indicated Thursday that he was dropping his bid to join Trump’s ticket.
UPDATE — 07/15, 2:36 p.m. ET: Trump announced on Friday morning via Twitter than he had selected Pence to be his running mate. It was subsequently reported by both CNN and MSNBC that Trump had been asking top aides if he could “get out of” the decision late Thursday night.
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