The deadline in Indiana for Pence to declare whether he’d run again for governor was at noon today so Trump couldn’t wait much longer. Or at least, that’s what I thought: A Trump fan assured me on Twitter this morning that, despite the many smoke signals yesterday from Team Trump that Pence was the guy, the deadline was Pence’s problem and shouldn’t affect the timing of Trump’s decision. Trump’s gotta be sure before he makes this kind of commitment. If that means screwing Pence out of one job by refusing to give him a firm answer about another, hey. To me that’s like proposing, staging a big wedding, and then deciding at the last minute to marry the maid of honor instead — with the bride standing right there — but again, I was told that was Pence’s problem. Trump can do no wrong.
Anyway. He did the right thing in clarifying this for Pence before the deadline.
Little Marco’s a big fan, for once:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 15, 2016
I think Newt will take the news with aplomb, but with sporadic passive-aggression for the rest of the campaign. Chris Christie being Chris Christie, the aggression in his case might be more straightforward:
Sources tell NBC News that Donald Trump was watching news coverage from his Beverly Hills home Thursday and was described as surprised and “irritated” that news organizations were identifying Pence as his choice early in the day.
Those sources said that by mid-afternoon, after the initial news reports, he had still “not informed” the other two men on his final list -former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — that a final decision had been reached. Trump spoke to Gov. Christie after 4:00pm in what was described as a “tense” conversation where a Pence pick was discussed but a final decision was not communicated.
Serious question: Did Trump ever privately promise Christie, or at least strongly imply, that he’d be his VP pick? We’ll probably never know the answer but it’s worth asking. A lot of people will wonder.
As for Newt, my assumption about his “loyalty test for Muslims” hot take on “Hannity” last night was that it was a last-ditch attempt to get Trump to reconsider before the Pence pick was announced publicly. Essentially Newt put on his sexiest ideological dress for Trump, hoping that he’d dump Pence on the eve of the wedding. Didn’t work. There’s another interesting theory floating around on social media about Newt maybe being the source of the news that the GOP is begging Gingrich ally Sheldon Adelson for $6 million to cover the shortfall in convention funding. That could be Newt’s way of warning Trump that Adelson’s money won’t be there for him if he’s not the VP choice. Trump called his bluff. Now we wait.
Exit question per the excerpt above: Is it really possible that Trump didn’t call Gingrich or Christie until after the Pence rumors were already flying full force in the media? C’mon.
Update: I take Ed’s point here, but since Trump had to clarify Pence’s status today due to the Indiana deadline, what’s the point of delaying their first appearance as a ticket for another day? Trump could have held a 10-minute low-key presser with Pence this morning to introduce him formally and tout his counterterror experience in Congress over the years in light of the Nice attack.