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July 15, 2016  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Trump picks pro-Israel stalwart Mike Pence as running mate


Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence onstage during a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, IN on July 12. 
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence onstage during a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, IN on July 12. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images WASHINGTON (JTA) – Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is a pro-Israel stalwart and conservative Christian.

Pence, 57, emerged quickly as a leader on pro-Israel issues during his 12 years in Congress from 2001 to 2013, where he rose rapidly in the GOP caucus leadership, chairing the Republican Conference in his penultimate term, 2011-2013.

He led a number of bids to place conditions on funding for the Palestinian Authority, and in 2007 he joined then-Rep. Ron Klein, D-FL, in convening the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force.

Pence has continued his pro-Israel advocacy as Indiana governor, earlier this year signing one of the most robust state laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Pence is known as a social conservative and Evangelical Christian. He opposes abortion rights as well as gay marriage. He signed a measure in March prohibiting abortions based on “sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down syndrome.” In 2015, he signed a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to customers based on their sexual orientation. Following protest, he signed a revised version of the law that prohibited such discrimination.

He has notably said he dislikes negative campaigning, which may blunt some of the sharp edge of Trump’s rhetoric.

Speaking at a Republican Jewish Coalition event last year, Pence faced pointed questioning from Matthew Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, about a law the Indiana governor had signed recently allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, which Brooks suggested could undermine the GOP’s efforts at attracting women and minorities.

Answering Brooks’ question at the RJC confab, Pence was apologetic. The law went too far he acknowledged, and it was revised.

“Ultimately we adopted a few reforms and made it clear this was a shield, not a sword,” he said to warm applause.

Following the announcement of the vice presidential selection, the RJC’s Brooks called Pence “a critical leader and important voice regarding Israel during his time in the House and as governor.

“Gov. Pence understands that strong support by the United States is essential to maintaining the strength and security of the only democracy and our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Brooks said.


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