Monday 19 February 2018

Donald Trump visits Indiana governor ahead of running mate decision

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he leaves the residence of Mike Pence (AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he leaves the residence of Mike Pence (AP)
Supporters of Donald Trump wait for the start of a rally in Westfield, Indiana, as a poll shows the Republican presidential candidate is very wildly unpopular among young adults (AP)

Donald Trump and key family members have visited Mike Pence at the Indiana governor's mansion in the final phase of the billionaire's search for a running mate.

Mr Trump was directing his staff to prepare for a Friday announcement.

"It's a little bit like The Apprentice," former House speaker Newt Gingrich, one of Mr Trump's finalists, said. "You find out sooner or later who the last one standing is."

Mr Pence, Mr Gingrich and New Jersey governor Chris Christie were said to be the final contenders to the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket less than a week before the party meets in Cleveland for the formal nomination.

All three have had "auditions" as Mr Trump's partner by opening for the presumed Republican nominee at speeches over the last week. On Wednesday morning, Mr Trump and his children were seen entering and exiting Mr Pence's residence.

Mr Pence is a steady, staunch conservative who would help calm nervous Republicans wary of Mr Trump's impulsive style. Mr Gingrich is a boisterous rabble-rouser who has spent decades in Washington, including as House speaker. Mr Christie, a one-time rival, has become one of Mr Trump's most trusted advisers.

Mr Trump said in a Tuesday interview with The Wall Street Journal that Alabama senator Jeff Sessions is also still in the mix.

Mr Trump has spent weeks consulting with friends and family as he weighs up the most important decision of his campaign to date.

He has also met with the candidates and brought his finalists on tour to test their reception before his crowds. On Monday, it was Mr Christie's turn in Virginia. On Tuesday, he was joined in Indiana by Mr Pence.

Introducing Mr Trump at a rally in Westfield, Indiana, Mr Pence received an enthusiastic reception as he compared Mr Trump to Republican icon Ronald Reagan and attacked Trump's likely Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he is looking for a "fighter skilled in hand-to-hand combat" as his second-in-command, but had not seen enough of Mr Pence to measure his fight. Mr Pence's speech appeared to be an effort from the former congressman to show he could take on such a role.

While Mr Trump did not give anything away, he spoke playfully of Mr Pence at the rally, adding: "I don't know whether he's going to be your governor or your vice president."


Press Association

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