Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s first public appearance as Donald Trump’s running mate will apparently come in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Hannity is a “Republican shill” and a pro-Trump advocate with the tendency to be a “very soft interviewer” when interviewing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and other GOP politicians.
According to Hannity’s show website, he “will speak with Donald Trump’s selection for vice president Mike Pence tonight, less than twelve hours after Trump took to Twitter to announce his selection of Pence as his running mate. The interview will occur even before Trump’s joint appearance with Pence to announce the selection, which is scheduled for July 16.
Many conservative media figures characterized Trump’s choice of Pence as “a nothingburger” and hold reservations about Pence’s abilities to explain away Trump’s controversies. But Pence’s interview with Hannity will surely present the governor an opportunity to bolster his reputation within the conservative base, given Hannity’s “unapologetic advocacy” for Trump and other Republicans. Indeed, the neologism “Hannitize” was coined to describe efforts by conservatives “to clean up a messy situation with a softball interview, typically one conducted by Sean Hannity.”
Trump has enjoyed a cozy relationship with Hannity since declaring his candidacy, with the Fox host regularly defending the candidate’s debunked claims and heavily panned policy proposals. Hannity has also been heavily criticized for being “a very soft interviewer” during the more than 17 hours of interviews he conducted with Trump over the course of the Republican primary.
Hannity defended his softball interviews by asserting, “I’m not a journalist, I’m a talk show host” and said on his radio show that he hadn’t been critical of Trump or Cruz because he wanted the Republican nominee to win. He has also admitted to “going soft in interviews on Republicans,” stating “I absolutely plead guilty.”