Pence Pick Gives Trump’s GOP Skeptics Something to Cheer About

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Donald Trump's pick of Mike Pence as his running mate on Friday offered the presumptive nominee's conservative skeptics some much-needed assurance, with high-profile Republicans lauding the Indiana governor as an authentic and steady leader in the party.

Trump, who has struggled to get some of the highest-ranking Republicans to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy, selected the former congressman as a consensus choice amid deep divides between the party's populist and traditionalist wings.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has endorsed Trump but has not shied away from criticizing the presumptive nominee at times, called Pence the ideal man for the job.

"I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate. We need someone who is steady and secure in his principles, someone who can cut through the noise and make a compelling case for conservatism. Mike Pence is that man," Ryan said.

Former House Speaker John Boehner, who has said he disagrees with Trump on trade issues and his controversial proposals to address immigration and terrorism, called Pence "an exceptional leader, and an even better man."

South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, a rising star in the party who has clashed with Trump, called Pence "a strong conservative reformer."

"Washington is broken, but we don't have to look any further than leaders like Mike Pence for the solutions to fix it," she said.

Onetime Trump foe Marco Rubio called Pence "rock solid."

And Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, another top Trump critic, called him "a valued friend and a good man."

The Club for Growth, a powerful anti-tax group that ran ads against Trump during the GOP primary, issued a lengthy statement calling Pence an "outstanding" candidate.

"Today’s news gives a similar hope that Mike Pence will be effective in pulling the Republican ticket toward economic conservatism and limited government," the organization said.

Praise also came from Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, who harshly criticized Trump earlier this year after he appeared to back "punishment" for women who seek abortions. (Trump later recanted the statement.)

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"“Mr. Trump’s selection of Gov. Mike Pence as his Vice President is an affirmation of the pro-life commitments he has made and will rally the pro-life grassroots," said Dannenfelser, who last week ruled out another possible Trump VP pick, retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, as "disqualified" for suggesting that he favors abortion rights.