Donald Trump to announce running mate

Donald Trump and key family members visited with Mike Pence at the Indiana governor’s mansion in the final phase of the billionaire’s search for a running mate. Trump was directing his staff to prepare for an imminent announcement.

“It’s a little bit like ‘The Apprentice,’” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s finalists, said in an interview with Fox News Channel.

“You find out sooner or later who the last one standing is.”

Pence, Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were said to be the final contenders to the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket less than a week before Republicans meet in Cleveland for the formal nomination.

All three have had “auditions” as Trump’s partner by opening for the billionaire at speeches over the last week. Yesterday morning, Trump and his children were seen entering and exiting Pence’s residence.

Pence is a steady, staunch conservative who would help calm nervous Republican wary of Trump’s impulsive style. Gingrich is a rabble-rouser who has spent decades in Washington, including as House speaker.

Christie, a one-time rival, has become one of Trump’s most trusted advisers.

That’s according to a person familiar with Trump’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is also still in the mix.

Trump has spent weeks consulting with friends and family as he weighs the most important decision of his campaign to date.

He’s also met with the candidates and brought his finalists on tour to test their receptions before his crowds. On Monday, it was Christie’s turn in Virginia. On Tuesday, he was joined in Indiana by Pence.

Introducing Trump at a rally in Westfield, Indiana, on Tuesday evening, Pence received an enthusiastic reception as he compared Trump to Republican icon Ronald Reagan and dug into Trump’s likely Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal he is looking for a “fighter skilled in hand-to-hand combat” as his second-in-command, but hadn’t seen enough of Pence to measure his fight.

Pence’s speech appeared to be an effort from the former congressman to show Trump he could take on such a role.

While Trump kept his cards close, he spoke playfully of Pence at the rally: “I don’t know whether he’s going to be your governor or your vice president.”

Pence and Gingrich would be welcome picks among anxious Republican officials already gathering in Cleveland for next week’s convention.

Their governing experience and popularity among the party’s conservative base would mark a sharp contrast to Trump, whose brand of politics has alienated hard-line conservatives and establishment Republicans alike.


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