Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trump Presents 'Partner' Pence, but No Doubt Who's the Star

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trump Presents 'Partner' Pence, but No Doubt Who's the Star

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * Donald Trump presented running mate Mike Pence to the nation Saturday, hailing the Indiana governor as his "first choice" and "my partner in the campaign." But he left no doubt in a sometimes awkward event that Pence's role will surely be as sidekick to the businessman-turned-reality-star-turned-politician at the top of the ticket.

Glancing at notes, Trump lauded Pence's personal character and conservative credentials. Then he moved on to draw sharp contrasts between the newly formed Republican team and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Yet the announcement lacked much of the stagecraft typically associated with the public presentation of a running mate.

The one sign onstage in the Manhattan hotel ballroom bore only Trump's name. The two men appeared together just briefly. And Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, spoke for nearly 30 minutes before calling Pence to the stage.

Trump's far-ranging remarks devoted more time to recapping his primary victories and he even found time to tout his new hotel in Washington than introducing the relatively unknown Pence to U.S. voters.

"All right, back to Mike Pence," Trump said at one point after a long tangent talking about the Republican Party's efforts to overturn rules that limit church leaders' political involvement.

The event the culmination of a vice presidential rollout that featured mixed signals, second-guessing and a 24-hour delay was intended to assert that Trump and Pence would stand up to the nation's enemies while being "the law-and-order candidates" at home.

"What a difference between crooked Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence," Trump said. He added: "He's a solid, solid person."

Pence, standing alone in front of 10 American flags, hewed closely to the populist themes that Trump has voiced on the campaign trail, describing himself as "really just a small-town boy." He praised Trump effusively as "a good man," a fighter, a legendary businessman and a patriotic American.

"The American people are tired," Pence said. "We're tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. We're tired of having politicians in both parties in Washington, D.C., telling us we'll get to those problems tomorrow."

The joint appearance was meant to catapult the party toward a unified Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Cleveland on Monday. Trump conceded that one of the reasons he'd selected Pence was to promote unity within the party, left deeply fractured by Trump's ascent.

"One of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest," he said.

There was little hoopla and no questions, though Trump on Thursday had billed the event as a news conference. In contrast, four years ago, Mitt Romney introduced running mate Paul Ryan on the deck of a Navy battleship, the Wisconsin, off the shore of swing state Virginia. …

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