VP Watch: The Latest in the Veepstakes

Welcome to VP Watch, NBC's roundup of the latest news about each presumptive nominee's search for a running mate.

The headlines: The GOP

  • It was D-Day, and then it wasn’t, with sources telling NBC News Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate but then Trump himself insisting on Fox News that he hadn’t made a “final, final decision.” This came after he postponed his announcement due to the attack in Nice, he said on Twitter. Pence had already flown to New York City, however, and is spending the night at an Intercontinental hotel in Manhattan — presumably waiting, like the rest of the nation, for what Trump’s going to decide
  • His other two short-listers, meanwhile, pitched themselves in an interview on MSNBC, for Chris Christie, and a Facebook Live chat for Newt Gingrich

The headlines: The Democrats

  • All eyes were on Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine this afternoon as he auditioned for the VP role at a rally with Hillary Clinton in his home state, lodging numerous attacks on Donald Trump on a slew of different points, and offering Clinton’s campaign another glimpse of how the two might look as a team
  • Andrea Mitchell interviewed Tom Vilsack, who said he’d trust Clinton “with my family’s life and my grandchildren’s lives.”

More VP News: The GOP

MIKE PENCE: NBC News reported that Donald Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate, with a caveat from sources (and our past experience with the presumptive GOP nominee): Trump could easily change his mind. And Trump extended his own self-imposed deadline of Friday at 11 a.m. with a tweet on Thursday night, giving him all the more time to change his mind on the pick. He later said on Fox he planned to announce the rescheduled annnouncement on Friday.

Speaking on Fox News, Trump said he hadn’t made a “final, final decision." But Pence’s moves all day Thursday suggested he had. The Indiana governor was spotted by a chopper overhead departing a plane in New Jersey, and caught on-camera entering a Manhattan hotel just over a mile away from Trump Tower. Sources say that preparations for the 11 a.m. announcement are continuing apace, despite the holding pattern from Trump himself.

That holding pattern, however, will have a big impact on Pence — he has a deadline of noon Friday to withdraw from his reelection bid, because Indiana state law prevents an individual from appearing on the ballot for the VP slot and governor. Dominoes are already falling in Indiana, with Republicans shuffling their own races with the expectation that Pence is out of the gubernatorial, so Trump’s final decision will have a ripple effect beyond the presidential race.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Christie had a one-on-one sitdown with GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace for MSNBC and said he wouldn’t be pleased with not being picked as Trump’s VP: “When you’re a competitive person like I am and you’re used to winning like I am, again, you don't like coming in second.” He said, however, he’d still vote for him, and declined to criticize Mike Pence, saying only when asked about Pence’s endorsement of Ted Cruz that “you’d have to ask him why he endorsed Ted Cruz at the time that he did.” A Christie ally plead guilty to a federal corruption charge related to a scandal surrounding a United Airlines flight alleged to have been created solely for his benefit. At home, Christie was left literally in the dark when a powerful storm rolled through Christie’s neighborhood in Mendham, N.J., toppling over a large tree in his front yard and knocking out his power.

NEWT GINGRICH: Gingrich gave an inside look into the VP-vetting process and his thinking on what he brings to the ticket during a Facebook Live chat, saying the Trump team pored over his tax returns back to 2004 and he filled out a 113-question survey. He also said he told Trump that he can have "two pirates” on the ticket or one pirate and one relatively normal, stable person, and added that he felt he had a “national” appeal while Pence had a more midwestern appeal.

More VP News: The Democrats


JULIAN CASTRO: Castro spoke today about two hours after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a LULAC conference in Washington DC. Per The Dallas Morning News, Castro stayed away from politics or assuming an “attack dog” role against Trump at the event.

SECRETARY TOM PEREZ: Perez will speak at LULAC’s DC convention Friday

XAVIER BECERRA: Becerra was interviewed today by NBC News’ Kate Snow, and was asked if he is being vetted. Becerra said on MSNBC that he has “had conversations on any number of occasions with the campaign, I know they’re looking at a number of folks…I know they’re in the process of trying to make that decision.” Becerra continued to say that he has not yet been asked for “things like tax returns” by the campaign.

CORY BOOKER: Not much new from Booker today.

TOM VILSACK: Vilsack was interviewed today by Andrea Mitchell on Andrea Mitchell Reports, and was asked about Veepstakes and his relationship with Clinton. The select questions and answers below:

Mitchell: And speaking of right choices -- comfort and compatibility to govern together is a big deal. Tell us a little bit about how long you've known Hillary Clinton.

Vilsack: Our families go back to 1974 when my brother in law shared office space with Hillary during the Nixon impeachment process, and I can tell you that when I ran for governor in 1998, very few people gave me a chance. I was 23 points behind, we hadn't elected a Democrat in 30 years in my state. Hillary Clinton was concerned and cared about my race, and really went well overboard in terms of providing help and assistance and I think that's one of the reasons why I was successful. So we go back a long way. I have an incredible amount of respect for her and I will trust her with my family's life and my grandchildren's lives, in terms of being the next president of the United States. I do not trust Donald Trump with that future.


Mitchell: And why would you be a better running mate than Tim Kaine, who she's going to be rallying with today?

Vilsack: Listen, the great thing about Hillary Clinton is she has an incredible array of people who are prepared to be vice president and to prepare to be president, god forbid something happens to her. Compare that to the Republican situation where there are people actually saying, no thank you. Not interested. Not me. I'm not even going to go to the convention. I would much rather be Hillary Clinton in terms of the broad array of people who are interested and prepared for that job than I would be Donald Trump, who is a very narrow group of people now interested in that job.


Mitchell: (On having people to tell her “no”/and judgment/emails) But what does that say about her management, about the ability of people to give her bad news? That's what presidents need to hear sometimes.

Vilsack: I think that she is going to have plenty of folks who are going to be very sensitive to the notion of making sure that they have her back and making sure that she's making the right decisions. That's not an issue here.

KAINE: Tim Kaine was in the Democratic veepstakes spotlight on Thursday while he campaigned with Hillary Clinton in his home state of Virginia, showing the crowd that he has the capability of taking swipe after swipe at Donald Trump: "Donald Trump trash talks women, trash talks folks with disabilities, he trash talks Latinos, to him it doesn't matter if you are a new immigrant or a worker who has been here a long time or if you are a Latina governor of New Mexico," he continued. "He is going to trash talk you.” He also broke out his Spanish speaking skills right off the bat, giving the audience a vocabulary lesson on what it means to be "ready.” While he may not be the most scorching speaker of Clinton’s options, he and Clinton looked like they had chemistry on stage as they glided in and out of the room together.

WARREN: The AP takes a dive into the benefits and the pitfalls for Hillary Clinton in choosing a running mate like Elizabeth Warren.

Party Crashers: A Political History With LEGOs 1:47

Warren and other potential VP pick SHERROD BROWN were two of the senators to send a letter to the heads of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Education Department to urge greater oversight to prevent other cases like Trump University.