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Trump postpones VP announcement after France truck attack

Donald Trump abruptly postponed his planned announcement on Friday of his vice presidential running mate because of a deadly truck attack in France

Published: Updated:

Donald Trump abruptly postponed his planned announcement on Friday of his vice presidential running mate because of a deadly truck attack in France, but Republican sources said his choice was expected to be Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Viewed as a safe pair of hands, Pence, 57, has diverging views with Trump on his proposed Muslim ban and trade, and is more socially conservative, but he could help unify a divided party behind Trump's White House bid.

Trump was due to make his official announcement on his choice on Friday in Manhattan. But he tweeted on Thursday night that the attack in Nice, where a truck slammed into a crowd, killing dozens of people, prompted him to delay.

“In light of the horrible attack in Nice, France, I have postponed tomorrow’s news conference concerning my Vice Presidential announcement,” said Trump. He said in a Fox News interview: “We will announce tomorrow when it will be.”

Trump, who has proposed banning Muslims from “terror states” from entering the United States, said in another Fox News interview that the attack in France showed the United States and the rest of the world needed to get tougher in the fight against Islamist militants.

“This has to be dealt with very harshly,” Trump said. He told Fox News he had not made a “final, final decision” on a running mate. He heaped praise on Pence and his other two finalists, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“I've got three people that are fantastic,” he said. Trump’s advisers told national party officials that he had settled on Pence, according to two Republican sources familiar with the campaign's operations.

“I’m told he’s been asked to do this and he’s flying to New York,” one source said. Pence was seen by TV networks arriving at a New York-area airport.

“Pence is Donald Trump's straight man,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “He'll be able to defend him as well as be a cheerleader but do it in a calm, cool, collected manner that will preserve his credibility.”

Gingrich, who met Trump on Wednesday, said on a Facebook Live session that he had yet to hear from Trump. He said he had told Trump that he needed to decide whether he wanted “two pirates” on the same ticket. Both men have been political mavericks.

Christie, a former rival to Trump in the presidential race, told MSNBC earlier he would be disappointed if not picked. “I'm not going to say it won't bother me if I'm not selected. Of course it bothers you a little bit.”

Pence, a former congressman, is seen as a safe choice, not too flashy but popular among conservatives, with Midwestern appeal and the ability to rally more party faithful behind Trump. The businessman has never held elected office.

“He’s a good, safe, solid conservative,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed.