After reports circulated that presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is seriously considering Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) as his choice for vice president, right-wing media panned the possible selection, saying, “I could hardly think of a worse choice for Donald Trump than Mike Pence” and claiming that “Pence has not been vetted.”
Mike Pence Rumored To Be Trump’s VP Pick
Gov. Mike Pence Is A Front-Runner For Trump’s VP Pick. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is one of two Republicans topping presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump’s shortlist to be his pick for vice president, reported CNN. CNN noted that “anticipation builds” as “Pence and Trump had a private, one-on-one conversation” and reported that Pence had “an audition of sorts” by introducing Trump at a rally in Indiana. From the July 12 CNN report:
As anticipation builds for Donald Trump to name his vice presidential pick, two hopefuls -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- appear to be the front-runners, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Pence introduced Trump at a rally Tuesday in Indiana that served as an audition of sorts as the presumptive Republican nominee closes in on a decision. The Indiana governor happily played the role of attack dog by slamming Hillary Clinton and saying she “must never become president of the United States.”
Pence and Trump had a private, one-on-one conversation at the fundraiser, according to a source who was there.
“You're gonna call him ... and you're gonna say governor -- or vice president -- we're winning too much!” Trump said of Pence at the rally. [CNN.com, 7/12/16]
Conservative Media Criticize Possible Trump/Pence Ticket
Conservative Radio Host Steve Deace: Pence’s “Stock With Conservatives Is So Low Right Now.” Conservative radio host Steve Deace asserted that this may be Pence’s “only chance to be a national figure” because “his stock with conservatives is so low,” reported Politico Playbook. Deace added that as “Trump's running mate, your chances of being successful are slim to none, and slim is on his way to a second trip to the buffet line." From the July 12 edition of the Politico Playbook (bolds original):
Ted Cruz backer Steve Deace emails this hot take: "The last few times we heard from Pence nationally, it was the disaster that was his RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Pence signed the controversial law, which some saw as discriminatory against gay people, and then approved changes to the language, angering some social conservatives who felt the move restricted religious freedom]. It was the worst we've ever been stabbed in the back by a Republican. It's the worst I've ever seen. ... Then there was the way-too-late, tepid, laughable, lukewarm endorsement of Cruz in May.
“Ten years ago, Mike Pence would have never done this. Five years ago. But because his stock with conservatives is so low right now, this may be his only chance to be a national figure. And being Trump's running mate, your chances of being successful are slim to none, and slim is on his way to a second trip to the buffet line.” [Politico Playbook, 7/12/16]
Fox News’ Chris Stirewalt: “I Could Hardly Think Of A Worse Choice For Donald Trump Than Mike Pence.” Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt asserted that he “could not think of a worse choice for Donald Trump than Mike Pence,” because Pence is “a cookie cutter version of that Republican Republican Republican that people hate.” From the July 5 edition of Fox News’ Your World:
CHRIS STIREWALT: I could hardly think of a worse choice for Donald Trump than Mike Pence. A conventional, socially conservative, normal conservative Republican. He is just exactly a cookie cutter version of that Republican Republican Republican that people hate. Donald Trump needs to keep the shake-up going. If he looks like a standard-issue Republican, he’ll look like a bad version of one. He’ll look like a guy playing a part. He needs to let Trump be Trump. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 7/5/16]
National Review’s Rich Lowry: “There Is No Reason To Believe Pence Will Be Good” At “Explaining Away And Deflecting Trump Controversies.” National Review editor Rich Lowry explained that “Trump’s running mate will have to be extremely deft at explaining away and deflecting Trump controversies” and noted, “There is no reason to believe that Pence will be good at this.” From a July 11 National Review article:
Trump’s running mate will have to be extremely deft at explaining away and deflecting Trump controversies. There is no reason to believe that Pence will be good at this, and I’m guessing he won’t be. Christie (comfortable at defending anything) and especially Newt (one of the most glib politicians of the last 30 years) would be much better by this metric. They both have downsides. No one will be excited by Christie, certainly not conservatives. Newt is famously ill-disciplined. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump team thinks it’s getting a safe choice in Pence and then when he inevitably has trouble defending Trump (he has never operated on this kind of national stage), it won’t look so safe anymore. [National Review, 7/11/16]
Laura Ingraham: “Pence Has Not Been Vetted” And “I Don’t See Him Standing As Firmly As Someone Like Christie.” Conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham, speaking on Fox News’ Hannity, claimed that “Pence has not been vetted” and said that, given his handling of the backlash to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, “I don't see him standing as firmly as someone like [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie.” From the July 11 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): It seems, we keep reading Mike Pence, Mike Pence, Mike Pence. Why is he not on your list, or on the three?
LAURA INGRAHAM: Because Pence has not been vetted. Trump has enough -- people are concerned about Trump out there. There's some people concerned about him. We know why. Pence has never been vetted. I mean there's liable to be -- I mean I don't know anything -- I like Mike Pence a lot, but I don't see him, after the way he handled that … the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, I don't, when Mike Pence just wilted on that issue, I don't see him standing as firmly as someone like Christie, who could pretty much defend and attack anything that he's asked to.
I don’t think Pence has walked through that white-hot spotlight of national media attention. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/11/16]