Donald Trump’s hope that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would help him win over skeptical conservatives looks to be already working.
Leaders of a number of conservative organizations — including some that have been hostile to Donald Trump and supportive of his rivals — are praising the selection of Pence.
“This is a great day for conservatism and great news for conservatives,” said Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. “Governor Mike Pence is an excellent pick to be the Vice President.”
“He is a proven leader who has worked with grassroots conservatives to advance policies and solutions that strengthen our economy, our national defense, and our families,” Schlapp added. “His Reagan-esque approach, as a great communicator with the courage of his convictions, sends the signal to conservatives across America that Donald Trump is eager to bring Americans together to reject Hillary Clinton’s plans to continue President Obama’s radical agenda.”
David Macintosh of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that has sparred with Trump, said “Mike Pence would be an outstanding Vice-President.”
“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. “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.”
Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin — a group that endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary — said “Governor Mike Pence provides the opportunity to give GOP voters still undecided about Donald Trump a reason to unite and to vote for a more principled ticket.”
“A Trump-Pence ticket could be just what Trump needs to unite the party and win,” Martin said.
Mark Meckler, who helped co-found Tea Party Patriots but isn’t affiliated with the group anymore, said Pence is “an excellent selection” for Trump’s vice president.
“He has strong conservative credentials with experience in public service leadership and on Capitol Hill,” Meckler said. “Pence was one of the earliest supporters for the Tea Party Movement and his votes reflected so in 2010. He earned a lot of credit after the year 2000 by opposing No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP and cutting spending. At 57, he’s young enough to be a good candidate for President after Trump’s tenure. His selection will go a long way towards solidifying Trumps grass roots base.”
Brent Bozell, a conservative who chairs the group ForAmerica and is a Cruz supporter, said the “naming of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate is a homerun for Donald Trump.”
“It’s the best conservatives could possibly want,” he said. “It’s a powerful signal, and a welcomed one. This was a top priority for conservatives, and Trump came through in a smashing manner.”
Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State and Mayor of Cincinnati, said Trump “gets an A-plus for his first presidential decision.”
“Mike is a fellow Midwesterner and a fellow rock-solid conservative, and will be a huge help on both scores,” Blackwell said. “Mike has been a successful governor and chief executive, he’s been a successful legislator in Congress and commands deep respect across the board in the Republican Party and across the aisle with the Democrats. He’ll be an exceptional asset as Mr. Trump’s running mate, he’ll help unify the party as we take the battle to the Democrats in the fall up and down the ballot.”
Penny Nance, president and CEO, Concerned Women for America, said “this is an excellent choice by Donald Trump” and that Pence “will be a unifying factor and conservatives will be very supportive.”
“Mike Pence spent 12 years in Congress leading the charge on conservative issues including defunding Planned Parenthood,” Nance said. “I look forward to working with him as vice president.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Pence’s selection is “an affirmation of the pro-life commitments he has made and will rally the pro-life grassroots.”
“Gov. Pence is a proven pro-life champion both during his time in Congress and as Governor of Indiana,” Dannenfelser said. “It was Mike Pence who led the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress, and it was Gov. Pence who signed into law a historic bill protecting unborn children from lethal discrimination in the womb. Mike Pence is a pro-life trailblazer and Mr. Trump could not have made a better choice.”
Paul Ryan, the House speaker and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee who has had disagreements with Trump, celebrated the pick.
“Mike Pence comes from the heart of the conservative movement — and the heart of America,” Ryan said. “I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate.”
The other finalists under consideration were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and former Lieutenant General Mike Flynn were also considered.