By Eric Bradner, Dana Bash and MJ Lee | 15 July 2016
CNN — Donald Trump said Friday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice to be his running mate.
“Pro-Israel Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Touted as Leading Choice for Trump Running Mate”
Pence, who has been a longtime supporter of Netanyahu, has said his support of Israel is deeply rooted in his Christian faith. Decision will be made in next few days, Trump says.
By The Forward and Drew Gerber | 13 July 2016
- Republican convention will be long on mystery, but short on Jews
- Could Mike Pence help smooth Trump’s sharp corners?
- Trump narrows running mate list, prepares for Friday announcement
HAARETZ — Amid widespread concerns that Donald Trump is losing ground among Jewish voters, some Republican insiders are touting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a potential pro-Israel secret weapon if the Donald picks him as his running mate. …
Pence has been a longtime friend of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, ever since he took to the national stage in 2001 as a member of congress closely tied to the Christian conservative wing of the GOP.
Speculation began when Trump met with Pence at the beginning of July, and it has only heightened as Trump and Pence campaign together Tuesday. Other top candidates include Newt Gingrich, who brings his friendship with megadonor Sheldon Adelson to the table, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who angered some Jewish Republicans by referring to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands last year. …
Pence has said his support of Israel is deeply rooted in his Christian faith, as well as in his strong relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Pence was introduced to AIPAC members in 2009 by then-board member Marshall Cooper at an AIPAC policy conference.
“Let me say emphatically, like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel,” then-Rep. Pence said.
Cooper described Pence to the audience as “Israel’s good friend.” …
Many believed Pence was considering a 2016 presidential candidacy when he spoke at the RJC’s spring conference last year, firmly aligning U.S. and Israeli interests.
“Israel’s enemies are our enemies, Israel’s cause is our cause,” Pence said. “If the world knows nothing else, let it know this: America stands with Israel.”
The RJC, which endorsed Trump in May, recently condemned the candidate for failing to strongly condemn anti-Semitic statements made by some of his supporters, as well as the anti-Semitic targeting of Jewish journalists by those in Trump’s base. …
According to the Wall Street Journal, RJC members have only raised $5,400 for Trump, less than .1% of the $17 million they had raised for GOP candidate Mitt Romney at this point in 2012.
Pence’s consistent record of support for the Israeli government may comfort Jewish donors who see Trump as a loose cannon. After he became governor of Indiana in 2013, Pence vocally opposed the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. Joining 14 other state governors, Pence sent a letter to Obama in 2015 threatening to continue enforcing state-imposed sanctions on Iran regardless of the administration’s deal.
As governor, Pence also signed into law a bill that would require the state to divest from any organization — including universities — that join the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement that boycotts businesses and academics considered to be involved in or profiting off of the Palestinian occupation.
Pence visited Israel on a state trade mission in 2014, where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Notably, on his trip Pence refused an invitation by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to join him at the head of the table during a Christmas Eve dinner, and Pence refused to meet privately with Abbas. […]