President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled he’s keeping Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced his selection of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
“I like Vice President Mike Pence much better. He is solid as a rock. He’s been a fantastic vice president. He’s done everything you can do. He’s respected by every religious group. Whether it’s evangelical, whether it’s any other group, they respect Mike Pence,” Trump, a Republican, told reporters at the White House.
“He’s been a great vice president, and I will take him over Kamala.”
After Biden revealed he’d chosen Harris, some commentators wondered whether Trump would swap Pence with another top Republican. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, was frequently mentioned.
Trump in late 2018 said Pence would be his running mate again in 2020.
“Mike, will you be my running mate? Will you?” Trump asked during a press conference at the White House after he was asked whether he wanted to lock down his ticket.
Pence smiled and nodded.
“That was unexpected, but I feel very fine,” the president added.
Pence was asked about rumors Trump might want to replace him last year, with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro naming Haley as a possibility.
“You know, I couldn’t be more proud to be vice president alongside President Donald Trump,” Pence said. “And I’m honored that he’s asked me to run with him again.”
Pirro asked if the vice president had spoken to Trump about it.
“Oh, many times. And he’s spoken about it publicly,” the vice president, who previously served as Indiana’s governor and a U.S. representative, replied. “He said privately what he said publicly, and I’m humbled by that.”
Trump on Tuesday also told reporters that Harris was his “number one pick,” adding: “She did very, very poorly in the primaries, as you know. She was expected to do well, and she was—she ended up at right around 2 percent, and spent a lot of money. She had a lot of things happening. And so I was a little surprised that he picked her. I’ve been watching her for a long time, and I was a little surprised.”