Strong, Decisive Leadership? Not From Stand Up Comic Donald Trump
After a day and a half, Trumpy-the-Clown even took down that ridiculous logo twitter-world was laughing at. I wonder how much he paid for that. Or did 10 year old precocious Barron Trump draw it? Trump was right to worry about the campaign's boneheaded choice of Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence is a divisive ideologue who offers virtually nothing to the ticket except an opportunity to shore up Trump's standing with perennially unhappy hard right movement conservatives. One poll showed that Pence isn't even known at all to 86% of Americans. There was a serious question if he was about to lose the governor's mansion in an Indiana rematch. But what this sordid episode of running mate selection really demonstrates has little to do with Pence himself. Trump may have learned at the last minute that Pence has a history as a disloyal, backstabbing rat, but for someone trying to sell himself to the American public as a consummate manager who "picks the best people" to run his affairs, the vetting process was a shambles and, if anything, Trump's waffling and indecision proves how can be manipulated by wily advisors who he doesn't trust. It didn't help Saturday morning when he came out to introduce Pence to the press and just bragged about himself for half an hour, something that was preceded by his campaign playing the Rolling Stones' classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want" over and over and over, in case anyone wasn't sure how the Trumpster really feels about Pence.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported on Friday that Trump was trying to get out of the Pence selection--which had been leaked to press by Pence's campaign so as to box Trump in-- as late as Thursday midnight. "Sources, she wrote, "told NBC News Friday that Donald Trump was stressed over the circumstances surrounding his choice for running mate even after news of the pick leaked. While in California, separated from family and most aides, Trump worked the phones late into the evening Thursday soliciting advice and sharing his concerns. Sources familiar with the calls said Trump conveyed that he felt 'backed into a corner.'"
Trump is described as torn because he felt former House speaker Newt Gingrich would be "too volatile" to manage. Trump told others that he had favored New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but could not choose him because of his own family loyalty. Christie, as U.S. Attorney, prosecuted [long-time crooked Trump crony] Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's son-in-law and close advisor Jared Kushner. Multiple sources said Kushner strongly opposed Christie as the running mate. Working with Christie behind the scenes on the transition team and strategy is one thing, but Kushner could not accept Christie as the running mate.Trump enthusiast Ann Coulter sowed doubts in a very public way. "Withholding comment until it’s official, but if claims about Pence as VP are correct, boy was I right about this being Trump’s first mistake," she tweeted, withholding nothing and publicly urging Trump to change his mind. She spent Bastille day slamming Pence on Facebook, where she insisted he had sold out homophobic purity to leftist-wing activists, and on Twitter:
Despite a close, long-term friendship with the governor, sources said Trump told others he could not "betray" his family and cause stress for his daughter Ivanka. That made Pence, as described by a source, "the only choice." While Trump likes and respects the Indiana governor, associates of Trump say he also expressed concern that Pence was not a match temperamentally with his brand and style of campaign. However, that is exactly what others in Trump's circle say makes Pence so attractive.
Pence's solid experience, mild mannered demeanor and message discipline provide a balance that may reassure uneasy Republicans and donors. News of the Pence pick leaked as Trump officials were in Cleveland trying to quell resistance and did stop attempts to undercut Trump at the RNC Rules Committee. First day reactions to Pence suggest many conservatives are pleased to see him on the GOP ticket. Trump's gut may have been Christie at first, for his loyalty and political skill. But Trump chose family and professional political advice.