INDIANAPOLIS – If Governor Pence is interested in being Donald Trump’s presidential running mate, he certainly didn’t deny it.
“I love my job, and I love my country, but I’m not going to get into hypotheticals,” Pence told reporters as he and first lady Karen Pence arrived for the Symphony on the Prairie concert at Conner Prairie.
It was the first time Pence had met with reporters since his Saturday meeting and golf game with Trump in New Jersey. “He was a very good golfer. He beat me like a drum,” Pence said.
Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and family yesterday. Very impressed, great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2016
The governor spent most of his time emphasizing the personal nature of the visit with the presumptive Republican nominee.
Unlike some Republicans, Pence also was emphatic about his support of Trump’s candidacy. “They couldn’t have been more kind and gracious, and it was kind of a privilege to spend some personal time getting to know someone I believe must be the next president of the United States of America.”
“I support Donald Trump.. because not only does Indiana need a partner, but as I said not long ago, our troops need a commander in chief that will have their back, and citizens need someone who will get government off their back,” Pence said.
However, when asked point blank whether he was interested in running alongside Trump, the governor demurred to the words of a written statement put out by the Pence campaign earlier on Sunday. “Nothing was offered, and nothing was accepted.”
PREVIOUS | Could Gov. Pence be the Republican nominee?
Though Pence added that he was still the governor and was running for re-election, it was not a decisive commitment to remain on the ballot.
He even brought up that he has less than two weeks to decide which race in which he wants to be a candidate.
“In Indiana, we have statutory deadlines. We’ll be respectful of that,” Pence said of the July 15 deadline to be removed from the November ballot.
Pence cannot be listed as a candidate for statewide and federal office simultaneously. That deadline is two days before the beginning of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Pence is one of the few mainstream Republicans to make a full-throated endorsement of Trump’s candidacy – he practically did so during the primary campaign when he complimented Trump even as he was endorsing Ted Cruz, who lost the Indiana primary in a landslide.
Pence reiterated those compliments Sunday night. “I also support Donald Trump because we need a president who will appoint common sense conservatives to the Supreme Court.”
Speculation about the nature of Saturday’s meeting began after reports that the Trump campaign was vetting Pence as a possible running mate. Should Pence accept a place on the Republican ticket, Indiana Republicans would have 30 days to replace him on the ballot.