Trump speaks with longtime Pence associate about the governor’s credentials and expertise
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump reached out to friends and associates of Indiana Governor Mike Pence during an overnight stay in Indianapolis that stretched into Wednesday.
Pence is on Trump’s short list of vice presidential candidates and one longtime associate of the governor told Fox 59 News that the candidate was most interested the Hoosier republican’s political credentials and expertise.
“The governor would help deliver the Midwest,” the source told CBS4 following a private conversation with Trump at the Governor’s Mansion.
The source insisted on confidentiality in order to speak candidly about the discussion.
Pence is highly respected by other governors due to his participation in the National Governors Association, the ranking republican told the presidential nominee, and would bring conservative supporters to the Trump campaign and “balance to the ticket.”
“He could make the difference between winning and losing,” said the source.
Many conservatives are leery of Trump because of his personal lifestyle and evolving positions on social issues but the source said that while Trump acknowledged Pence was more conservative on certain issues, the candidate also added, “A different perspective is good. We don’t have to agree on everything.”
The confidant said Trump asked questions about Pence’s expertise in Washington after serving as a congressman for 12 years, including a decade on the Foreign Relations Committee.
“Mike knows the legislative process and has an outstanding reputation,” said the source, reflecting Trump’s announced intentions to seek out a D.C. veteran as VP. “He has experience and shown leadership on Capitol Hill.”
The Indiana primary in May provided Trump with the delegates he needed to win the Republican nomination at the upcoming party convention in Cleveland.
“Trump knows Indiana put him over the top,” said the source, indicating the republican presidential nominee has fond memories of the state and its voters.
The associate said Trump indicated there was no ill-will between himself and the governor over Pence’s endorsement of Ted Cruz during the primary, and his potential running mate was respectful and complimentary of the party’s anointed candidate in the aftermath.
When Trump asked the friend to, “Tell me about the man,” the source said talk centered on Pence’s commitment to family and his three children with wife Karen.
The source said Trump gave no indication whether Pence would be chosen as his running mate.
Another source close to the process said Trump has spoken numerous times with Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) in the past week.
Coats attended Tuesday night’s fundraiser at the Columbia Club downtown and also talked with Trump last week in Washington.
Late Tuesday evening, according to the source, after the Westfield rally Coats and Pence spoke privately on the phone. Pence told Coats that Trump had made no decision yet on who his vice presidential pick would be.