After Donald Trump postponed his Friday morning event to announce his running mate, citing the attack in Nice, France, it became less clear that the Republican candidate had made a final decision.
Reports on Thursday indicated that Trump had chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate, and Pence flew into New York City on Thursday, further fueling speculation.
Yet, following his decision to postpone the announcement, Trump said on Fox News Thursday evening that he has not made a “final, final decision.”
And according to a report from NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell, sources said that Trump was “irritated” about leaks that he had chosen Pence. O’Deonnell added that Trump had not informed the final contenders of his decision by Thursday afternoon, even though Pence was headed to New York. Per NBC:
Sources said that by mid-afternoon, after initial news reports on Pence, he had ‘not informed’ Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie that a final decision was reached. He spoke to Gov. Christie after 4pm in what was described as a ‘tense’ conversation where a Pence pick was discussed but a final decision was not communicated. By about 5:00 pm ET, sources said Trump had not personally made the offer to Gov. Pence to join the ticket. Even though by that time, other signals, movements and Gov. Pence on a private plane appeared to show the choice was made. Later, Christie sources, stung by the lack of clarity, indicated they did not expect to see Trump move away from Pence despite the unresolved conversation. Gingrich sources did not specify what he had been told about the status of the running mate selection.
Friday morning, Paul Manafort, a top adviser to Trump was unable to clear up the confusion and gave convoluted answers when asked whether Trump had made his selection.
Manafort said that he believes Trump has made a decision, but added that the choice is not final until an announcement.
“Well, until he announces it, he hasn’t,” Manafort said on “Fox and Friends” when asked if Trump had made his choice. “Whether he’s made up his mind and wants to announce it, or hasn’t made up his mind, I guess are two different questions.”
When asked why Pence flew to New York, Manafort said, “I think that Mr. Trump has reached a decision.” But he added that “until he announces it, there’s no formal nominee.”
He emphasized that Trump postponed the event out of respect for the victims of the attack in France, not because he was having second thoughts on his choice.
“He was moved by what happened last night,” Manafort said. “It affected him and emotionally he — the carnage in Paris, and the idea that this is just nonstop and it seems to be happening quicker and quicker in more and more aces, and he thought it was totally inappropriate in the aftermath of that tragedy to do something even as important as what he was going to do this morning.”
“I don’t know that he’s having second thoughts, but he hasn’t announced it yet,” Manafort added later. “However, I know the reason that the events was cancelled was out of respect.”
Manafort told both Fox News and CNN that Trump will make an announcement before the Republican convention in Cleveland, but he would not rule out Trump making the announcement on Friday.
“Today, what he’ll be doing is announcing when he’ll make the decision. I expect there will be an announcement of his choice before we get to Cleveland,” Manafort told CNN.
When asked to confirm that there would be no announcement today, Manafort said, “That will be discussed. I mean, I don’t think so because I think he thinks it’s just inappropriate to do it today.”
The deadline for Pence to withdraw from the Indiana governor’s race is noon on Friday, potentially putting the governor in a tough situation. When asked about this on CNN, Manafort simply said that Trump’s decision is not final until there is an announcement.
After Manafort’s television interviews, he was spotted going into the hotel at which Pence is staying, according to an NBC News reporter.
Paul Manafort, fresh off appearances on CNN and Fox, spotted just now arriving at hotel where Pence is staying in NYC.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) July 15, 2016