Media figures across the political spectrum ridiculed the “awkwardness” of Trump’s announcement that he has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) to be his vice presidential running mate. Several figures called the move a “complete mess” and “the worst rollout ever.”
Donald Trump Selects Mike Pence For His Running Mate
After Much Speculation And Mixed Messaging, Trump Picks Pence For VP. Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he had selected Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) to be his running mate. The decision comes after a “frenetic” lead-up, in which Trump “did his best to keep the drama going,” saying he had not yet made his final decision on July 14. According to CNN:
Donald Trump said Friday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice to be his running mate.
"I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.," the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted.
CNN reported Thursday that Trump had called Pence and offered him the vice presidential slot on his ticket. Pence has accepted.
Trump did his best to keep the drama going Thursday after a frenetic day.
"I haven't made my final, final decision," he told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Thursday evening.
But speaking at a fundraiser in Los Angeles later in the evening, Trump said he had made his pick and the campaign was "ready to announce," according to an attendee. Trump, however, did not say whom he had chosen. [CNN, 7/15/16]
Media Ridicule “Awkwardness” Of Trump/Pence 2016 Debut
National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar: Trump’s Pence Announcement “Created For Some Awkwardness.” National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar commented that the timing of the announcement was complicated by Pence’s need to file for re-election by noon today. Pence “really needed to know if he was the choice, while at the same time Donald Trump postponed the announcement.” Kraushaar noted that while “it may have been inevitable,” the “awkwardness” of the announcement was bad optics for Trump. From the July 15 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:
JON SCOTT (HOST): Josh, I know you have said that the choreography of the Pence announcement was handled badly by the Trump campaign, but what choice did they have? I mean, you can’t plan for what, you know, the terrible events that happened in France.
JOSH KRAUSHAAR: No they didn’t really have a whole lot of choices. But -- and it made sense to cancel the announcement on Friday, but the way it was announced anyway -- and really, it was really complicated by the fact that Governor Pence had to decide by noon today whether to run for Governor, whether to run for re-election. So he really needed to know if he was the choice, while at the same time Donald Trump postponed the announcement. So it created for some awkwardness, it may have been inevitable, but the optics weren’t the greatest for Donald Trump. [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/15/16]
Fox’s Howard Kurtz: “Trump ... Lost Control Of The Narrative.” Fox host Howard Kurtz said it was “so fitting” that Trump tweeted the endorsement. Kurtz added that Trump was “boxed in” with Pence “because of all the coverage and leaks and counter leaks,” showing that “Trump lost control of the narrative.” From the July 15 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:
HOWARD KURTZ: It is so fitting that Donald Trump would use Twitter as his personal broadcast network, ends up tweeting the choice of his running mate. Of course he was boxed in because of all the crazy coverage yesterday, with all the leaks and counter leaks; it’s Pence, well it’s not final, well he hasn’t called Newt [Gingrich] to say no, well Pence was on a plane to New York. And then Donald Trump going on Greta’s show last night and saying he hasn't made a final, final decision. Well, once he decided to postpone the actual rollout, which was supposed to be as you know 11:00 this morning, he faced, Governor Pence faced the noon deadline in Indiana whether he was going to continue his run for re-election. So Trump, at that point, kind of lost control of the narrative used twitter to confirm it. And, you know, the reaction has ranged from this is a smart and safe choice, to it’s a very boring choice, to some in the media saying that Pence is more of a low key politician that doesn’t match the Trump brand. [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/15/16]
Wash. Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “So This Delay Was A Result Of Trump's Emotional Breakdown After The Nice Bombing? Great Nominee, RNC.”
so this delay was a result of Trump's emotional breakdown after the Nice bombing? Great nominee, RNC.
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) July 15, 2016
Rubin: “The Worst [Vice President] Rollout EVER.”
The worst VP rollout EVER https://t.co/42BqFJje28
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) July 15, 2016
Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro: “Well That Was A Lot Of Confusion Over A Dud Of An Announcement.”
Well that was a lot of confusion over a dud of an announcement. https://t.co/J31D7k8Ec8
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 15, 2016
Fox’s Bret Baier: “Campaign Denies This But, Clearly There Was Uncertainty & Anger About The Roll Out.”
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) July 15, 2016
Ron Fournier: “Yup, Let’s Give Him The Nuclear Codes.”
Yup, let's give him the nuclear codes. https://t.co/zshyaxgNXA
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) July 15, 2016
Erick Erickson: “Trump Was So Unsure About Launching Those Nukes That After They Took Off He Asked Top Aides If He Could Get Them Back.”
“Trump was so unsure about launching those nukes that after they took off he asked top aides if he could get them back”
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 15, 2016
CNN Contributor Dan Pfeiffer: “Rolling Out A [Vice President] Is 100 [Times] Easier Than 99 Percent Of What A President Does … If [Trump] Can’t Pull This Off Without Drama And Errors…”
Rolling out a VP is 100x easier than 99 percent of what a President does every day, if you can't pull this off without drama and errors...
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 15, 2016
NY Times’ Alex Burns: “Trump-Pence Is Kind Of Like Romney-Ryan After It’s Been Run Through A Long Game Of Telephone.”
Trump-Pence is kind of like Romney-Ryan after it's been run through a long game of telephone
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) July 15, 2016
Wash. Post’s Philip Bump: “Donald Trump Just Turned A Key Moment Into A Complete Mess (Once Again.)" The Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote that Trump managed “to make his campaign look like a mess” while announcing Pence as his vice president pick. According to Bump, “The whole thing is, to some extent, evocative” of how “Trump's passions seem to [get] the better of normal political instincts.” From the July 15 article:
Just as the Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump has selected Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) as his running mate. But between the Star's report and Trump's confirmation of it, Trump managed to do just about everything possible to draw attention away from the assets that Pence provides to his campaign and, instead, to make his campaign look like a mess.
On Thursday morning, the Pence story broke and the campaign denied that a decision had been made, which isn't uncommon. But for once, it seems as though a decision maybe hadn't been made — or, worse, that it had been made and then Trump pulled back.
Then, in a completely baffling move, Trump announced that his previously announced plan to unveil his pick on Friday at Trump Tower was being scrapped, ostensibly because of the terror attack in Nice on Thursday night. But that attack didn't stop Trump from otherwise campaigning: He held a fundraiser on Thursday night, well after the attacks, and called in to multiple Fox News programs to weigh in on the attacks.
The postponement lacks any logical explanation whatsoever — particularly because Trump went ahead and made his announcement on Friday morning anyway, albeit on Twitter.
The whole thing is, to some extent, evocative of Trump's spending nearly a week defending his tweet of an apparent Star of David at the same moment he could have been criticizing Hillary Clinton for the resolution of the investigation into her email server. Then, as now, Trump's passions seem to have gotten the better of normal political instincts. In this case, though, the stakes are far higher. When I wrote in April about how a president picks his or her running mate, former Romney and George W. Bush adviser Stuart Stevens identified the rollout as one of three moments the VP pick actually can help (the other two being the convention speech and the debate). [Washington Post, 7/15/16]
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- Elections, The Presidency & White House
- Fox News Channel, The Washington Post, Twitter
- Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Josh Kraushaar, Howard Kurtz, Jennifer Rubin, Ben Shapiro, Bret Baier, Ron Fournier, Erick Erickson, Dan Pfeiffer, Alex Burns, Philip Bump
- Happening Now, The Washington Post
- 2016 Elections