Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, compares him to former president Reagan
Mike Pence's comparision of Trump to Reagan, who is revered by Republicans, is a clear appeal to make Trump more palatable to conservatives alienated by his bombastic rhetoric and populist message.
AFP District of Columbia, United States
Jul 16, 2016, 03.14 PM
In his first interview as Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence on Friday compared the Republican presidential hopeful to conservative icon Ronald Reagan.
Pence, interviewed on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show, emphasised that the real estate mogul and reality TV star was "the people's choice".
The Republican Party "had a competitive primary with him, enormous number of talented men and women," Pence said.
"Donald Trump again and again emerged because I think very much like the 40th president that you and I so admire, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump understands the anxiety and the aspiration of the American people like no leader since Reagan."
Trump has no direct political experience. In contrast Reagan, a Hollywood actor, was governor of California before he was elected president.
The comparison with the late Reagan, who served two terms during the 1980s and is revered by Republicans, is a clear appeal to make
Trump more palatable to conservatives alienated by Trump's bombastic rhetoric and populist message who had backed other primary candidates.
The four-day Republican Party convention that will nominate Trump as their presidential candidate, which starts Monday in Cleveland, Ohio, will feature no former presidents, few party luminaries and only a smattering of elected officials.
John McCain and Mitt Romney, the last two Republican presidential candidates, will also stay away.
Pence, however, predicted the party will unify around Trump.
"I expect next week at our convention you're going to see our party, and leaders in our party, rally around this good man who will be a great president of the United States," he said.
While Trump has campaigned as a protectionist, Pence has backed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the sweeping trade deal that Trump has attacked as bad for US jobs.
Pence has denounced Trump's proposal to close US borders to Muslims as "unconstitutional."
And while Trump has called the Iraq war a "disaster", Pence was a co-sponsor of the 2002 Iraq war resolution.
But in the Fox interview, Pence fully supported Trump.
"I am very supportive of Donald Trump's call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorists influence and impact represents a threat to the United States," he said.
"We have a proud tradition of refugee resettlement ... but it has to be subordinated to the safety and security of American people."
As for the Iraq war, "that's for historians to debate", but both he and Trump "are in strong agreement is that Barack Obama's precipitous withdrawal from Iraq created a vacuum in which ISIS was created".
Pence said that trade agreements like the TPP can go back to the bargaining table.
"When we elect one of the best negotiators in the world as president of the United States, I'm open to renegotiating these trade agreements," Pence said.
And if there are major disagreements, "you shut the door. You tell the boss exactly what you think."
Pence said that Trump "is a man that appreciates candor. And we've had some very candid and straightforward conversations.
"But when the door opens, the job of the vice-president is to stand right next to the president and implement the policy that he's decided."