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Mike Pence Delivers Rousing Call for GOP Unity: ‘Elections Are About Choices, So Join Us’

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Manhattan, N.Y.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald J. Trump introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his choice for vice-president Monday, and Pence delivered a remarkable call for Republican unity.

“To every American, who shares our convictions, join us,” said the former congressman in the same room in the Midtown Manhattan Hilton hotel where Ronald W. Reagan launched his own campaign for president in 1979.

In a strong, measured voice, Pence made his case for Republicans to refocus on the binary choice ahead of the Nation in November. He spoke of values and presented images of his own development with a “front row seat to the American Dream” and “a cornfield in the backyard.” Then, in addition to naming members of his family and thanking and praising Trump, the other two name checks were Reagan and the late Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia.

“Seven-and-a-half years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies have weakened America’s place in the world and stymied our nation’s economy,” he said in a preview of the prosecution of Clinton he will plead for the next four months and a reminder to rogue Republican elements it is time to come in from the cold and stop Obama’s third term.

In a litany of examples, Pence set out all of the issues, Obamacare, coal, taxes, secure borders, where Trump stands with conservatives and what Clinton will do if Republicans do not rally to elect Trump.

He was especially specific when it came to what a Supreme Court fashioned with Clinton appointees would do.

“Hillary Clinton will appoint Supreme Court justices, who will legislate from the bench, abandon the sanctity of life and re-write our Second Amendment,” he said.

Although Pence joined the House GOP leadership at the end of his tenure on Capitol Hill, he was with conservative insurgents fighting leadership’s constant urge to go-along-to-get-along with Democrats and entrenched power in Washington. Before joining leadership in 2009 as the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, he led the Republican Study Committee, which was then know as the conservative bloc inside the party’s members. Under Pence, the RSC, which was founded to correct the leftward shift of of the GOP under President Richard Nixon, had a whip operation to hold its members together as a concentrated force.

Pence left Congress to run for governor of his home state in 2012, and in his remarks he gave a hint to the frustration with Washington to brought him back home.

“We like to say Indiana is a state that works,” he said. “Indiana works because Republican principles work whenever you put them into practice.”

In the week leading up to the Republican National Convention that starts Monday in Cleveland, remnants of the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas), including a man who calls Cruz his best friend Sen. Michael S. Lee (R.-Utah), and the leader of the Senate Conservative Fund Ken Cuccinelli, fought inside the party’s Rules Committee to unbind delegates won by Trump and others in the four months of primaries and caucuses across the country. At the same time, Cruz is shuffling his Senate and Kitchen cabinets to set up for a presidential run in 2020.

When Trump mentioned Cruz before introducing Pence, he said the Texan was “a good guy”; a good guy scheduled to speak at the convention without committing to an endorsement. This made Cruz the man who was not there. It also stood in opposition to the way things were back in the winter, when Cruz refused to criticize Trump, hoping to scoop up his supporters after the New York City developer stumbled out of the race. Back then, Trump’s own campaign team talked about Cruz joining Trump as VP to forge an unstoppable combination against Hillary Clinton.

Instead of Cruz, or anyone else, it is Pence running with Trump, and it is Pence trying to forge an unstoppable combination against Clinton–and making that case to Republicans on the eve of their convention.

The governor said, “Elections are about choices and I also joined this ticket because the choice could not be more clear and the stakes could not not be higher.”

Pence said Americans can vote for Trump, who will rebuild America’s economy and make her safe, “Or, they can choose somebody, who literally personifies the failed establishment in Washington.”

“For the sake of our security, for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of a Supreme Court that will never turn its back on our God-given liberties,” Pence said. “Let’s come together as a party, as a people and as a movement to “Make America Great Again” and that day begins when Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States of America.”


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