NEW YORK —
“I accept your nomination to serve as vice president of the United States of America."
Those words from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence marked the official debut of the Trump-Pence presidential ticket.
But they came only after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke for nearly half an hour, alone at the podium inside Manhattan's glitzy Hilton Midtown ballroom, in front of five rows of seated supporters — an enthusiastic but restrained group of invited guests.
Standing before a backdrop of American flags and a flood-lit red, white and blue curtain, Trump declared himself and Pence as the “law-and-order candidates” of a law-and-order Republican party.
He painted President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as politicians who “lead from behind,” and are weak on combating global terrorism.
“Hillary’s foreign policy helped launch ISIS,” Trump said. He criticized her for not calling recent attacks in Orlando and Nice “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Mike Pence will never be afraid to speak the name of our enemy,” he added, calling his running mate a “solid, solid person” and a leader “who will help deliver a safe society and prosperous society for all Americans."
Pence took the stage to light, polite applause, thanking Trump for the confidence placed in him and his family, calling the businessman a “patriotic American” and a “fighter.”
He described himself as a "basic guy,” and a small-town boy from rural Indiana.
"I grew up with a front-row seat to the American dream," he said.
Pence, who describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," is regarded as a safe choice within conservative circles, able to pick up support among moderate Republicans and evangelical Christians.
Trump praised Pence’s record as governor of Indiana, saying he will help push to create manufacturing jobs — a key domestic platform in Trump’s campaign. Trump also noted that Pence had lowered state income taxes.
During the 24 hours since Trump announced his decision on Twitter, notable GOP (Grand Old Party) politicians praised the decision, calling Pence as strong on conservative, social and economic principles, including a staunch record of anti-abortion and anti-LGBT policies.
'Love the guy'
Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said “I love the guy,” on a radio show this week. “He’s actually a buddy of mine."
Pence served 12 years in the House, where he knew Ryan.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio praised Pence on Twitter as a “great pick” and “rock solid.”
Trump and Pence will be at the Republican Party’s national convention this week in Cleveland where Trump is expected to get the party’s formal nomination.