DENVER — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has picked his running mate — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. A former congressman, Pence is in many ways what Trump is not: a strong social conservative with deep ties to the party’s establishment. As such, there is a record of deep disagreements between the two names on the top of the GOP ticket this year.
Pence has been a longtime, aggressive advocate of trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump wants to revoke NAFTA — signed by Bill Clinton in 1993 — and do away with the Obama administration-negotiated TPP. Trump has made his opposition to trade agreements the centerpiece of his economic argument.
“Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization, moving our jobs, our wealth, and our factories to Mexico and overseas,” Trump said in a speech in Pittsburgh last month. “Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.”
Pence voted for several trade deals while in the House and last year wrote a letter as Indiana’s governor urging the state’s congressional delegation to support TPP.
In 2014 Pence called for ratification of the deal on Twitter: “Trade means jobs, but trade also means security. The time has come for all of us to urge the swift adoption of the Trans Pacific Partnership.”
Pence came out against Trump’s proposed temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States in November. He said on Twitter that, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.”
He opposed the relocation of Syrian refugees into Indiana but argued that this was different than a blanket ban on migration by one religious group. A federal judge in February blocked Pence’s order to state agencies that they not assist any Syrian refugees resettled in Indiana. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has indicated he would prohibit entry into the U.S. from unspecified countries with histories of terrorism rather than by all Muslims.
While in Congress, Pence proposed allowing some people in the country illegally to return to the United States as guest workers provided that they relocate temporarily to their home country and apply for re-entry under a special guest worker program. The 2006 proposal never made it out of Congress but could have eventually made those people citizens in about 17 years. The program could have only begun had the federal government met benchmarks for securing the border. It was intended as a compromise between immigration hard-liners and those who supported then-President George W. Bush’s call for a plan to let most people in the United States illegally eventually become citizens.
Trump, in contrast, has repeatedly called for a wall along the southern border and removal of all the nation’s estimated 11 million people here illegally. He has hinted that he may support a program like Pence’s to allow some back in but also said foreign workers drive down the wages of American workers.
Pence also last month criticized Trump’s speculation that a federal judge born in Indiana was ruling against him in a lawsuit because of the judge’s Mexican ancestry. Pence called Trump’s statements “inappropriate.”
Trump has bucked Republican orthodoxy by opposing cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security that many in the GOP believe need to be reined in. He’s singled out the proposals of House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose budgets have called for a major restructuring of entitlement programs.
“Paul wants to knock out Social Security, knock it way down, wants to knock Medicare way down,” Trump said in March. “These people have been making their payments their whole lives, I want to keep Social Security intact.”
In Congress, Pence voted for Ryan’s budget, which raised the age of Medicare eligibility to 67. He also backed then-President Bush’s push to move Social Security into private investment accounts.
Interestingly, Pence is one of a number of Republican governors who struck compromises with the administration to expand Medicaid under Obama’s health care law, covering an estimated 350,000 low-income residents in his state.
The move was a straddle, since Pence still favors repealing the underlying law. The Indiana expansion involved concessions to conservative ideas, such as requiring low-income people to pay modest premiums.
Gay rights and abortion
Trump has also distanced himself from social conservatives, saying Planned Parenthood “has done very good work” for some women and questioning Republican efforts to require transgendered people to use the bathrooms of their natural-born gender. Pence, in contrast, is a well-known social conservative who proposed defunding Planned Parenthood in 2007 and urged blocking the entire federal budget in 2011 in hopes of closing down the nonprofit organization. In March, Pence signed a bill in Indiana prohibiting women from seeking abortions solely because their fetuses could be born with disabilities. The measure was struck down by a federal judge last month.
Pence’s biggest controversy as Indiana governor came last year, when he signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics contended could have let businesses in the state refuse to serve gays. After a national uproar among business leaders and activists, Pence signed a new measure that said RFRA couldn’t be used to discriminate against gays.
Trump has repeatedly called the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake. Pence voted to authorize the invasion and was a vocal backer of the war. Pence visited Iraq in 2007 and controversially declared that a market in Baghdad showed that the city was actually secure even though it later surfaced that U.S. troops had locked down the area before his arrival.
Trump, famously, has turned presidential politics upside down, relishing personal jabs at his rivals and their families. In 2000, Pence issued an agenda for the coming congressional year: “Campaigns should demonstrate the human decency of the candidate, recognizing that your First Amendment rights end at the tip of your opponent’s nose,” Pence wrote. “Negative personal attacks have no place in public life and serve to erode public confidence in our basic institutions of government.”