UPDATE:A Pence spokesman has clarified that the Indiana governor does support Sen. McCain and Sen. Ayotte.
Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence refused Thursday to endorse Republican senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in their respective elections while calling for “new leadership.”
“I look forward to supporting Republican candidates in the days and weeks ahead all over the country, and so does Donald Trump. But the stakes in this election are so high. To restore our country at home and abroad, we need new leadership,” Pence responded when asked by reporters whether he will endorse Arizona Sen. McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Ayotte.
Pence added, “I’m looking forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump to drive that new leadership forward.”
A longtime McCain confidant John Weaver tweeted out his displeasure with Pence’s remarks. “I remember traveling with John McCain to Indiana to campaign for, several times, for a desperate Mike Pence. Shame on him,” Weaver said.
McCain’s primary is on August 30 and Ayotte’s is on September 13. Sen. McCain’s main primary challenger, former Arizona state senator Dr. Kelli Ward, said in a statement: “Donald Trump and Mike Pence recognize that we cannot win Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat in November with McCain, the ultimate establishment insider and champion of compromise, as our nominee. Only someone with real life experience outside politics can bring the bold, fresh, fearless new leadership it will take to win.”
Earlier this week, Trump slammed McCain for his record on veterans and Ayotte for her lack of support for his presidential campaign.