Club for Growth Lauds Trump for Selecting Pence as VP

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Club for Growth is applauding Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate.

“Mike Pence would be an outstanding Vice-President,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement after Trump tweeted that he has selected the Republican governor from Indiana as his running mate. Until now, the Club has been one of the real estate billionaire’s fiercest critics.

“I’ve been privileged to call Mike a friend for more than 20 years, and members of the Club for Growth have been cheering his principled stands for economic conservatism since he came to Congress. Mike was a leader on Capitol Hill against bailouts, Obamacare, and tax hikes,” McIntosh said in the statement.

“He has been a strong supporter of free trade agreements, and he stood up to his own party’s leadership against the expansion of the entitlement state,” he continued.

“The Club supported Mike Pence’s nomination as Republican Conference Chairman because we knew that he would be a strong voice for free markets and economic liberty among a House leadership team that was too prone to be weak on those issues. And today’s news gives a similar hope that Mike Pence will be effective in pulling the Republican ticket toward economic conservatism and limited government,” McIntosh added.

Club for Growth PAC, the political arm of the Club for Growth, a 501(c)(4), consistently criticized Trump in a series of ads and statements throughout the contested primary race for the GOP presidential nomination.

In August of last year, Trump told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview at a campaign stop in Nashville that the Club for Growth was “a pack of thieves.”

Donald Trump is firing back at the Club for Growth.

“They’re a pack of thieves,” Trump told Breitbart News as he was leaving Nashville’s Rocketown facility. He had just finished delivering a high-energy speech to an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 people.

Trump was attending the annual convention of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, which describes itself as “the grassroots Republican wing of the Republican Party.”

“They [the Club for Growth] came to my office looking for money. I turned them down. That’s why they’re after me,” Trump told Breitbart News.

Earlier in the week, the Club for Growth attacked Trump for his proposal to penalize Ford Motor Company for putting a car manufacturing plant in Mexico rather than Tennessee.

“Donald Trump’s threat to impose new taxes on U.S. car companies will hurt the American economy and cost more American jobs,” David McIntosh, President of the Club for Growth, said in a statement.

When asked if the release of the statement applauding Trump’s selection of Pence as vice-president indicates an end to the organization’s feud with the presumptive GOP nominee for president, Club spokesperson Doug Sachtleben tells Breitbart News in an exclusive interview, “in some sense, the feud ended after Indiana.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s last major opponent, withdrew from the race for the GOP presidential nomination when he lost the Indiana primary in May.

“Our primary emphasis has always been House and Senate races,” Sachtleben adds.

Sachtleben said he did not think the Club for Growth would be involved in the presidential general election in 2016.

“We’ve not been involved in presidential general elections in the past, and we don’t plan to this time around,” he tells Breitbart News.

When Breitbart News pressed Sachtleben on whether today’s statement praising Trump’s selection of Pence indicated the organization has “forgiven” the former reality television star for his comments calling the group “a pack of thieves,” he responded good-naturedly.

“Donald’s said a lot of things about a lot of people. It’s never been anything personal from our end. I don’t think he’s asking for forgiveness,” Sachtleben tells Breitbart New

“It’s not a situation where we are harboring a grudge,” he adds.

“The concerns remain that he’s still unpredictable. We’ve seen a good tax reform proposal. If he were to push that in office, and work with Congress on getting it passed, that would be good,” the Club for Growth spokesperson continues.

“With Trump, there’s always the unpredictable factor that we’ll have to wait and see,” he adds.

Sachtleben chuckled when Breitbart News asked him if he had ever thought the Club for Growth would one day applaud a political action taken by Donald Trump.

“We’re trying to be fair. It’s a good choice. We’re more than happy to say that. We’ve been critical in the past of guys like Chris Christie for expanding Obamacare. We think choosing Pence was a really good direction,” Sachtleben says.

Pressed again on whether the Club for Growth might consider endorsing Trump, Sachtleben responded cautiously

“I don’t see that happening. Pence’s addition to the ticket might make some of our members more inclined to give the ticket another look,” he says.