As Trump Nears VP Decision, Gingrich Talks 'Pirates' Option | NBC Southern California
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

As Trump Nears VP Decision, Gingrich Talks 'Pirates' Option

Trump is choosing between "two pirates on the ticket or a pirate and a relatively stable, more normal person," Gingrich said he's told the presumptive Republican presidential nominee



    Getty Images
    Possible vice presidential picks: Newt Gingrich; Mike Pence; Chris Christie

    Donald Trump is on the verge of picking his vice presidential running mate, with top contenders on standby Thursday afternoon for the Republican nominee's decision.

    On Trump's shortlist: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, according to people familiar with the candidate's thinking.

    Pence quickly exited a speaking event in Indianapolis Thursday morning without taking questions from reporters. His staff had not released details of any other planned appearances Thursday.

    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.

    A Republican familiar with Pence's thinking said the paperwork has been drawn up for him to take that step. However, the documents have not been filed, according to the Republican, who insisted on anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss Pence's plans.

    Trump was making his final decision from California, where he is scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers at a distance from many of his closest advisers. His campaign chair, Paul Manafort, is currently in Cleveland, and none of his children are in the state with him.

    All three of the finalists have had extensive conversations with Trump and his family in recent days.

    Gingrich told The Associated Press he had expected to hear from Trump one way or the other sometime after 1 p.m. Reached by phone later, Gingrich said he had not heard from Trump, but still expected to receive word Thursday afternoon. 

    Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida

    [NATL] Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida
    At an event in Coconut Creek, Florida, Hillary Clinton said that Trump is "attacking everything that has set our country apart for 240 years," pointing to his refusal at the final debate to commit to conceding the race if he loses. As she tried to make this point, the crowd erupted into singing her "Happy Birthday." Clinton turns 69 on Oct. 26. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    In a Facebook Live chat, Gingrich said he had told Trump in earlier conversations that his choice was between having "two pirates on the ticket or a pirate and a relatively stable, more normal person." 

    Trump and his new running mate will make their first appearance as a team Friday in New York. The timing is aimed at energizing Republicans ahead of next week's Republican convention in Cleveland. 

    Trump considered a broader group of candidates before settling on the three finalists. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the first senator to endorse Trump, was among that larger group, but told reporters Thursday that he was not the choice. 

    Each of Trump's top contenders would add significant political experience to the GOP ticket. Trump, a political novice, has said for weeks that he wanted a running mate who could help him work with Congress. 

    Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote

    [NATL] Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote
    Hillary Clinton is joined by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Oct. 24, 2016. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016)

    Beyond their political backgrounds, the finalists bring different strengths to the ticket. 

    Pence, 57, is a steady, staunch conservative who would help calm nervous Republican wary of Trump's impulsive style. He served six terms in Congress before becoming Indiana governor. He also has deep ties to evangelical Christians and other conservatives, particularly after signing a law last year that critics said would have allowed businesses to deny service to gay people for religious reasons. 

    Trump took notice of Pence during the Indiana primary, noting that the governor had high praise for him despite endorsing one of his rivals. 

    Gingrich is a boisterous rabble-rouser who has spent decades in Washington and helped define the political battles of the 1990s. The 73-year-old would be the oldest candidate ever to become vice president. 

    Gingrich has been a steadfast Trump defender for months and has become a trusted adviser to the businessman. 

    So, too, has Christie. The New Jersey governor quickly endorsed Trump after ending his own presidential bid, stunning many of his supporters. 

    A former U.S. attorney, Christie, 53, is widely seen as one of his party's most talented retail politicians and has proven himself a biting attack dog on the trail. He's also become a valuable partner for Trump, joining him at events on the trail and taking on the important role of heading Trump's transition planning.