Pence won this week’s speed-dating competition with Trump and his adult children, beating Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich to become the reality-TV-star’s running mate. Trump wanted to get the news out in advance of next week’s RNC in Cleveland; the Indiana governor also had a deadline of noon today to withdraw from his re-election bid in his state. And, Trump and Pence were scheduled to give their first joint interview this afternoon to Leslie Stahl at Trump Tower, for broadcast on Sunday’s 60 Minutes.
Yesterday the presumptive GOP nominee had canceled today’s news conference, set for 11 AM ET in Manhattan, in the wake of the truck attack in the seaside resort of Nice, France. Shortly after Trump’s tweet, French authorities held a news conference in Nice to announce the death toll now stands at 84, including 10 children, and an additional 202 injured, including 52 critically injured, of whom 25 still are in a state of coma. Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old man who had immigrated from Tunisia in ’05, was killed in the 18-ton truck with which he’d mowed down celebrators after a fireworks display, yesterday at about 10:30 PM local time.
Previous, Thursday, July 14: Donald Trump has postponed tomorrow morning’s news conference at which he was set to announce Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had edged out Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich to become his running mate, after a truck driver mowed down more than 80 Bastille Day celebrators in a French seaside resort.
Doing his best to keep the suspense going – like in the Miss Universe pageant he used to co-own – Trump insisted this afternoon in a phone interview with Fox News that he had not made his “final, final” decision. But Pence had to withdraw his re-election bid in Indiana by noon tomorrow, and even Pence’s hometown paper, the Indianapolis Star wasn’t buying it, having independently confirmed Pence is the guy. Besides, reporters following Trump’s campaign noted Pence had flown to New York City this evening, where Trump had been scheduled to hold his news conference at 11 AM tomorrow.
Some pundits think Trump will have to announce at some point tomorrow; Trump & Veep are set to give their first interview together to CBS News’ Lesley Stahl, tomorrow afternoon at Trump Tower. The interview will air on Sunday’s 60 Minutes.
Trump followed that up with an phone interview on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel program in which O’Reilly asked if him if he had made his Veep choice “but, because of today’s attack you changed your mind or you’re leaning in another direction?”
“No, absolutely not,” Trump said. “I think would be totally inappproprite to have a news conference on a Vice President pick tomorrow, in light of so many people dead.”
Asked if, as POTUS, he would go to Congress and ask for a declaration of war. “I would. I would. This is war,” Trump responded.
Meanwhile, the presumptive Dem nominee, Hillary Clinton, in a phone interview with CNN, said pointedly, of Trump, that the “horrific attack…reminds us very vividly and tragically, that we have to stand with our allies and not abandon them, and we need to strengthen our alliances, including with NATO, not undermine them.”
The driver of a tractor trailer truck deliberately plowed into pedestrians during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice; at leasta 80 are dead, and more than 100 injured, reported cable news outlets as they scrambled to overhaul their evening plans and stay with coverage of the attack. They noted U.S. State Department is asking Americans in the area to contact family to let them know they are safe, and to avoid area and exercise caution.
“On behalf of the American people I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack,” Obama said in a longer statement sent to news operations; he has offered France assistance in the investigation and other resources, CNN reported.
A spokesperson for France’s Interior Ministry tweeted: “The individual who was driving the truck was neutralized. Investigation will determine if he was acting alone.”
Police shot and killed the driver, who maneuvered the vehicle along the town’s famed Promenade des Anglais seafront, zig-zagging to hit as many spectators as possible, regional official Sebastien Humbert told France Info radio.
Local politician Christian Estrosi said the truck was loaded with arms and grenades, according to TV news accounts; AP reported a terror investigation has been initiated by authorities. French president Francois Hollande was on his way back to Paris, cutting show a personal trip.