INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Donald Trump abruptly postponed plans to announce his vice presidential pick following a day of rampant speculation, citing the “horrible attack” in Nice, France, that left scores dead.
Trump had planned to hold his first event with his yet-to-be-named running mate Friday morning in New York. He announced the change of plans Thursday evening on Twitter.
The stunning announcement raised questions about the status of Trump’s selection process. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had emerged as a late favorite for the job, though Trump said he had not finalized the pick and advisers cautioned he could change his mind.
“I haven’t made my final, final decision,” Trump said on Fox News.
After spending much of Thursday in Indianapolis, Pence flew to New York late in the day.
Trump did not say when he planned to announce his running mate. He’s up against a clock: The Republican convention kicks off in Cleveland Monday.
In addition to Pence, Trump’s shortlist included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to people familiar with the candidate’s thinking.
In tapping Pence, a staunch conservative with six terms in Congress, Trump would likely ease GOP leaders’ concerns about his own political inexperience and volatile temperament.
Pence has influential allies in Trump’s inner circle. But some of Trump’s children, who have been closely advising their father, are said to favor different candidates.
Campaign chair Paul Manafort was among those urging caution in assuming any decision on Thursday, saying on Twitter that Trump’s choice “will be made in the near future.”
As the day began, it appeared the decision would come quickly. Gingrich, the fiery Republican who helped define the political battles of the 1990s, told The Associated Press that Trump was supposed to let him know something in the afternoon. But by early evening, Gingrich told the AP he had heard nothing from Trump or others in the campaign.
Other Republicans with knowledge of the process said there had been no calls to Pence or Christie, either.
The top contenders have been vetted by a top Washington lawyer and all have spent time with Trump in recent days. But the final decision rests with the candidate, who is known for making decisions more on instinct than other factors and for sometimes changing his mind.
Trump was in California Thursday for several fundraisers. His schedule put him at a distance from many of his closest advisers, including Manafort and his three oldest children.
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.
The paperwork has been drawn up for him to take that step, according to a Republican, who insisted on anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss the plans. However, those documents have not been filed.