Trump emerged without Pence. He spoke, alone, at a podium adorned with Trump’s name, but not Pence’s. And then Trump proceeded to talk about himself for 28 minutes....But as Jenna Johnson and Robert Costa of The Washington Post note, Pence was unfazed, or at least was determined to seem that way to Trump.
I can tell you that he rambled, but that doesn’t do it justice. He spoke about Hillary Clinton, about himself, about his victories. He talked about crushing the Republican establishment in the primaries and talking to a buddy building plants in Mexico. He bragged about the beautiful hotel he is building in Washington, DC, and patted himself on the back for his foreign policy foresight over the years.
Every five minutes or so, he seemed to remember, just for a moment, like a man trying and failing to wake from a dream, that he was there to introduce Mike Pence, and so he would say something like, "now back to Mike Pence," but then he would slip back again, and tell another anecdote about himself....
When Trump finally stuck to Pence, at the end of his lengthy speech, he seemed robotic, bored, restless. He recited Pence’s accomplishment like he was reading his Wikipedia page for the first time, inserting little snippets of meta-commentary and quick jabs as if to keep himself interested.
Trump eventually invited Pence on stage and the two shook hands. “You’re amazing,” Pence whispered to him.That seems in character -- to judge from this New York Times story, Pence started toadying to Trump late in the process, but did so with great relish:
At first, Mr. Pence was standoffish and skeptical -- only to become the suitor as the days wore on, fervently pursuing Mr. Trump and the No. 2 slot.Like a desperate job interviewee, Pence had figured out what the guy doing the hiring wanted to hear, and came through with it:
When mechanical problems grounded Donald J. Trump’s private plane on Tuesday night in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence seized the opportunity.This was after a dinner in which he revealed an eagerness to align himself with Trump, something many Republicans won't do out of self-respect:
The jet-setting Mr. Trump had his three oldest children fly to meet him after he was unexpectedly stranded in Indianapolis, so Mr. Pence and his wife hosted the family for breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Tudor-style Governor’s Mansion.
The families were chatting politely over coffee when Mr. Pence, a mild-mannered Midwesterner, delivered an uncharacteristically impassioned monologue, according to people with direct knowledge of his remarks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the meeting.
With the vice presidency potentially hanging in the balance, Mr. Pence described his personal distaste for Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former president, and spoke of feeling disgusted at what he called the corruption of the 1990s.
The monologue appeared to be a success.
On Tuesday, after Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence campaigned together, and Mr. Trump’s plane breakdown left him stranded in Indiana, the unlikely partners had an impromptu dinner at the Capital Grille.Pence stayed true to Trump, even after several reporters revealed that Trump thought about dumping Pence just prior to the official announcement. Johnson and Costa think Pence got in a dig at Trump in his speech today, but that's not how I interpret this:
And at some point during the evening, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pence if he would say yes, were Mr. Trump to offer him the No. 2 slot.
“In a heartbeat,” Mr. Pence replied.
But Pence also took a subtle swipe at Trump, telling the crowd that Trump called him on Wednesday to offer him the position. Trump had insisted as late as Thursday night that he had not made his “final, final decision.”To me, that's Pence raising the subject of his own humiliation. If I'd been in his position, I wouldn't have reminded people of the fact that Trump had picked me and then pondered dumping me. But Pence did.
It seems to me that Trump ultimately picked someone who's willing to abase himself, but in a subtler way than Chris Christie (who may or may not have gone on a McDonald's run for Trump). I'm guessing that Trump would have preferred to go with Christie, but his family and his campaign chief talked him out of it. Pence might be the next best toady.