“One of the big reasons that I choose Mike, and one of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest,” said Donald Trump this morning as he formally announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate on the GOP ticket in NYC. “I’m an outsider, I want to be an outsider,” the former Celebrity Apprentice host added in what became a rambling speech, “I think it is one of the reasons I won in landslides, this wasn’t close,” he noted of the primary race for the Republican nomination. Paperwork filed with the FEC last night showed that Trump got some big outsider donations the past month, including over $400,000 from the wife of Marvel’s Ike Perlmutter.
A much more polished and standard politician Pence was finally introduced on Saturday morning by Trump after nearly half an hour of the GOP Presidential nominee speaking about his own candidacy and hotel projects. With Trump not significantly mentioning Pence for almost 28-minutes after starting his remarks around 8 AM PT, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and ABC and CBS all covered the event live, but NBC stayed with its 2016 Open Championship golf coverage. Praising Trump, the Governor and former Congressman spoke for just over 10-minutes with neither man taking any questions from the media and only briefly sharing the stage. Pundits on CNN and MSNBC panned the event, while FNC concentrated on Trump and Pence’s promised economic growth for the country and GOP unity. That unity will be front and center for TV viewers soon again as Trump and Pence will be having a joint 60 Minutes appearance on Sunday night that was taped on Saturday.
Originally scheduled for Friday, the formal VP pick announcement at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan was pushed back a day by the Trump campaign on July 14 after the fatal truck terror attack in Nice, France. Having said that, Trump couldn’t keep from grabbing the media cycle and went ahead and made the Pence decision public early on July 15 via Twitter. He also was online this morning before the event again:
Look forward to introducing Governor Mike Pence (who has done a spectacular job in the great State of Indiana). My first choice from start!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2016
Trump will disappear from the campaign trail for the next few days as he and Pence prepare for the “incredible” Republican National Convention that will run in Cleveland from July 18-21.
Today’s Pence event also comes just hours after the Trump campaign filed fundraising efforts paperwork with the Federal Election Commission – with that help from Marvel money. The filing showed the previous tepid efforts to bring in outside dough to the supposedly self-funded campaign and the GOP itself saw a surge from late May to the end of June. The Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again Committee pulled in $32.4 million over the five-week long period with the money being doled out to the candidate’s campaign proper and the party.
Down from the more than $82 million that the Clinton campaign and the DNC snagged over the past three months, Trump Victory drew on 14 deep-pocketed donors writing checks for $449,000 each. Not a lot of the Republican elite were among those donors but among the casino owners and real estate developers was Laura Perlmutter, the spouse of Marvel Entertainment main man Ike Perlmutter. Perlmutter has been a frequent and big Trump donor over the past year, including giving $1 million to Trump’s veterans fundraiser at the end of January as the candidate skipped a Fox News hosted debate with his now vanquished rivals.
Reading sometimes from a prepared text today, Trump spent a lot of time promising law and order and more jobs as well as thoughts for the people of France and “anguish” in Turkey from yesterday’s seemingly failed coup and not talking about Pence. Hitting all his usual stump points with anecdotes galore thrown in, Trump got a laugh from the invited crowd at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan on Saturday, when he said, ‘but I won’t say that because I’m much more interested in Mike” as he promised consequences for American companies that manufacture outside the U.S. under a potential Trump administration.
While stressing Pence’s record and his own choice, the GOP standard bearer was also interested in terrorism at home and abroad, praising Lyndon Johnson, mocking the Stop Trump movement, getting polls on the cheap, his acquisition of the old Post Office building in Washington D.C. that he is turning into a hotel, Ted Cruz and of course, making America great again. The presumptive Republican nominee went on an attack against the “horrible, horrible” and “weak” Hillary Clinton, who he says is owned by Wall Street interests and blamed for the creation of ISIS.
“Other people have been paying tremendous prices for what they’ve done, which is peanuts compared with what happened with Hillary Clinton,” said the ex-NBC reality TV frontman from a podium in Manhattan today about the lack of an indictment of the former First Lady over her personal email server while Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. “While I do believe that she didn’t pay the price she should have paid, she’s going to pay that price when November 8 rolls around,” a relatively restrained Trump added to applause in the room.
The Clinton campaign hit back on Twitter as Trump was speaking with their take on Pence:
Well, *we’ve* got plenty to say about Mike Pence. Here you go: pic.twitter.com/LGbVGvN7F7
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 16, 2016
Already widely seen as an attempt by the one-man band billionaire’s campaign to make peace with elements of the Republican establishment, the choice of the conservative Pence was swamped in rumors yesterday that Trump was wavering on the Governor after he had picked him – hence the reality star’s online insistence that his choice was his “first choice from the start.”
The likes of Trump’s former primary rival and frequent subsequent sidekick New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich were also some of the top names floated as possible VP choices for Team Trump. With the slot assured, Pence quietly filed paperwork Friday morning to withdraw his reelection effort in the Hoosier state.