PORTLAND, Maine — Donald Trump may not be ready to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan, but he didn’t take the opportunity away from his running mate.
Trump told a raucous crowd here that Gov. Mike Pence called him to ask if he could endorse Ryan, checking first if Trump would “mind” the announcement, which would mark another mixed message between the GOP nominee and the second half of his ticket.
“So Mike called me and he said yesterday, ‘Would you mind if I endorse? I won’t do it if it causes any complications or problems. I would absolutely not do it,’” he said. Trump, for his part, told the crowd he gave Pence his blessing – and even called Ryan “a good guy, actually,” although the crowd was quick to boo the mention of Ryan’s name.
Trump, rehashing a conversation he says he had with his running mate, said, “I said, ‘Mike, you like him?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Go ahead and do it, 100 percent.’ And he endorsed him.”
The GOP nominee stoked party ire on Tuesday when he told the Washington Post he was “not there yet” with his decision to endorse Paul Ryan in his upcoming primary.
But Pence called Ryan a “very close personal friend” in an interview on Wednesday, noting that Trump “encouraged” him to endorse. The Indiana governor sought to bridge the gap between his actions and Trump’s past words by saying the two have developed a “close working relationship” despite “different styles” on the trail and in interviews.
Trump echoed the sentiment, pushing back on reports of “fissures” and message inconsistencies between the two men. “It’s so dishonest,” he said, continuing his tirade against the media, who he has called his “biggest obstacle” currently.
But one of Trump’s other obstacles has often been the veracity of his assertions – and his latest claims about a video he says shows the U.S. dropping off $400 million in various currencies have yet to be validated by any such video evidence. Trump first mentioned the supposed video Wednesday during rallies in Florida and followed up on his claims once again on Thursday.
“You know it was interesting because a tape was made, right? You saw that? With the airplane coming in – nice plane – and the airplane coming in and the money coming off, I guess, right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians,” Trump said.
Trump’s campaign, when asked about the video, told NBC News that he was referring to “b-roll” that he saw on television, meaning footage that often appears on screen during conversation of a given story. A campaign official said that the footage could be found in NBC’s own package from the Today Show but that footage shows detainees coming off a small private plane in Geneva, Switzerland — not a cargo plane unloading money in Iran.
This isn’t the first time Trump has doubled down on videos that cannot be found or authenticated. The GOP nominee frequently spoke about Muslims dancing in New Jersey on 9/11, saying that he saw footage of it on the news. Such footage has yet to be found by NBC or other news outlets.
And while protesters have been fewer at Trump's rallies, Thursday’s was interrupted almost half a dozen times by people calling Trump a “racist” or standing in a group holding pocket-sized copies of the Constitution. One man, who chimed in as Trump spoke about this tax plans, called out for Trump to release his tax returns. He was promptly escorted out.
Trump has said that an ongoing audit prevents him from releasing his returns – something that is legally inaccurate – and that once the audits are over, he would release them. No timetable for that has been given.