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Trump said set to tap Indiana governor as running mate

Mike Pence seen as a strong supporter of Israel; final announcement on VP candidate to be made Friday

Presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence take the stage during a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, Indiana, on July 12, 2016.  (AFP Photo/Tasos Katopdis)
Presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence take the stage during a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, Indiana, on July 12, 2016. (AFP Photo/Tasos Katopdis)

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will reportedly pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate.

Trump is expected to make an official announcement on his vice president candidate Friday, but the Roll Call website, citing an anonymous source, reported that Trump has already chosen Pence. Other US media outlets, citing sources in the Trump campaign, have also reported that Pence is Trump’s choice for his vice president.

Also on Trump’s shortlist are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, according to people familiar with the candidate’s thinking.

Pence quickly exited a speaking event in Indianapolis Thursday morning without taking questions from reporters. His staff had not released details of any other planned appearances Thursday.

Pence is running for re-election, but Indiana law prevents him from seeking two offices at once. He faces a Friday deadline to withdraw from the governor’s race.

A Republican familiar with Pence’s thinking said the paperwork has been drawn up for him to take that step. However, the documents have not been filed, according to the Republican, who insisted on anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss Pence’s plans.

According to Roll Call, the two men have been spending time together with Pence visiting the Trump golf course in New Jersey. The Indiana governor has also hosted the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at his home.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday said Pence would be a good pick for Trump’s vice president.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Indiana Governor Michael Pence in Jerusalem on December 29, 2014. Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Indiana Governor Michael Pence in Jerusalem on December 29, 2014. Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

The Wisconsin Republican said he doesn’t know what Trump will do, and added, “I hope he makes a good pick and clearly that would be a good one.”

Ryan said it’s no secret he’s a big fan of Pence’s and holds him in very high regard.

Trump’s vice presidential announcement is expected soon with the Republican National Convention getting under way in Cleveland next week.

Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communication adviser tweeted that a decision will be made Friday morning, echoing Trump who said earlier this week that he will make his announcement Friday.

Pence is broadly seen as a strong supporter of Israel, which he visited in 2014, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The strong and broad bipartisan support for the state of Israel I know will be reflected in decisions that our Congress makes in the months ahead to preserve the support the United States provides to Israel, to ensure that Israel is able to enter into negotiations to achieve defensible borders and secure its own peace and security in the years ahead,” he said while in Jerusalem in December 2014.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (John Sommers II/Getty Images/AFP)
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) introduces Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (John Sommers II/Getty Images/AFP)

The trip was seen at the time as a bid for him to burnish his foreign policy bona fides ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run.

Earlier this year, Pence signed into law a bill that banned Indiana from dealing with companies that boycott Israel.

Trump was making his final decision from California, where he is scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers at a distance from many of his closest advisers. His campaign chair, Paul Manafort, is currently in Cleveland, and none of his children are in the state with him.

All three of the finalists have had extensive conversations with Trump and his family in recent days.

Gingrich told The Associated Press he was expecting to hear from Trump one way or the other sometime after 1 p.m. The former Georgia congressman praised Trump for running a “very fair, open process” and said he looked forward to learning the businessman’s decision.

Gingrich later posted on Facebook that he would hold a live chat at 2 p.m. about the “vice presidential picks and the VP selection process.”

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