Soon enough the U.S. public will get an official first look at Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. He’ll be formally introduced at a news conference on Saturday, as Trump just tweeted:
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
The shebang was originally supposed to go down this morning, but Trump postponed the event out of respect for the victims of the truck attack in Nice, France.
In light of the horrible attack in Nice, France, I have postponed tomorrow’s news conference concerning my Vice Presidential announcement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2016
Thanks to some well-placed anonymous sources, the world found out early about the choice. Some news organizations deployed squirrelly language in couching the news:
CNN Chyron: “Sources: Signs Point to Pence Being Trump’s VP Pick.”
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) July 14, 2016
That Pence had edged out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich in Trump’s veepstakes is what Jay Rosen calls an “ego scoop,” a revelation that would have surfaced anyway, in due time. “From the user’s point of view, there is zero significance to who got it first,” writes Rosen. Which is true: In a few weeks, no one will remember who was first to the Pence thing.
Yet that doesn’t mean that the pursuit of the veep story isn’t worthwhile. Today NBC News is proving the merits of doing so. As it turns out, the ways in which a novice politician goes about handling his vice-presidential selection process says a thing or two about him. Absorb these three paragraphs from NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell on what’s going down in the Trump inner sanctum:
Sources tell NBC News that Donald Trump was watching news coverage from his Beverly Hills home Thursday and was described as surprised and “irritated” that news organizations were identifying Pence as his choice early in the day.
Those sources said that by mid-afternoon, after the initial news reports, he had still “not informed” the other two men on his final list — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — that a final decision had been reached. Trump spoke to Gov. Christie after 4:00 pm in what was described as a “tense” conversation where a Pence pick was discussed but a final decision was not communicated.
By about 5:00 pm, sources said Trump had not personally made the offer to Pence to join the ticket. But by that time, other signals, movements and the Indiana governor’s arrival in the New York City area on a private plane appeared to signal that the choice had been made.
The foregoing can cut in different directions: Either Trump and his people can’t keep critical information from leaking; or they leak and then regret it; or everything is a complete mess and no one’s really in charge. Or maybe some combination of those. Whichever may be the case, voters should know about it. The picture of confusion in Trump world last night gained some traction from none other than Trump himself, who told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last night that he hadn’t reached a “final, final decision” on his pick. With his tweet moments ago, Trump appeared to have reached true, final, final finality.