By Shelby Mullis
SCRANTON, Pa. — Indiana shared the spotlight with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania Wednesday.
Just 111 miles away from Philadelphia—home to the 2016 Democratic National Convention—Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence opened the event, giving a play-by-play of the night he received the VP offer from Trump.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tells the crowd in Scranton, Pennsylvania why he decided to become Donald Trump’s running mate. The hundreds of people gathered at the rally Wednesday jumped to their feet and cheered when Pence took the stage. Photo by Rachel Hoffmeyer, TheStatehouseFile.com
“When I got that call just about two weeks ago, it was 11 o’clock at night,” Pence said. “I was in my office, my wife at my side. We prayed through. When Donald Trump called and asked me to serve as his running mate and vice presidential nominee, I answered in a heartbeat because Donald Trump has a vision to make America great again.”
Pence supported his decision to join Trump with three reasons—to keep Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton out of office, to bring “strong leadership” to Washington and because of Trump’s willingness to put America first.
Fred Jenkins, of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, said Pence was not his top choice for Trump’s running mate, but he’s coming around to the idea.
“My pick was Newt Gingrich,” Jenkins said. “I’m not mad about it. That’s politics. Pence is a nice man.”
But Trump couldn’t help but praise Pence Wednesday, specifically for his actions in Indiana politics.
“Mike Pence has been amazing,” Trump said. “And you know, one of the reasons—and this is 100 percent—one of the reasons I chose Mike was because Indiana, under his leadership, has done so well. It’s done so incredibly.”
Trump credited his continuous references of Carrier Corporation for his victory in Indiana’s May primary. Carrier Corporation announced in February that it would relocate its distribution center from Indiana to Mexico, taking around 1,400 Hoosier jobs with it.
“Every time I made a speech in Indiana, I’d have so many of these 1,400 people that got laid off,” Trump said. “They worked at Carrier for years—some of them 30, 35 years. Good people.”
Donald Trump touts Indiana’s accomplishments Wednesday during a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, introduced Trump to the crowd. Photo by Rachel Hoffmeyer, TheStatehouseFile.com
Trump said as president, he would call Carrier and let them know they could sell their products in America, but it would cost them a 35 percent tax. The hundreds in the crowd cheered loudly.
“I’m here for my main man, Donald J. Trump,” Jenkins said. “I like him because he’s energetic, he’s straight forward and he seems to be so sharp. And he has a beautiful family.”
Pence said it’s time to bring strong, conservative leadership into the White House.
“He’s a dreamer,” Pence said. “He’s a builder. He’s a fighter. And he’s a patriot. And he is a man who will put America first and put America back on top again.”
Pence departed Scranton shortly after Wednesday’s rally to host his first solo-campaign rally in southeastern Wisconsin in Waukesha.
Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.