“Mike Pence did an incredible job and I’m getting a lot of credit because that’s really my first so-called choice,” the GOP presidential nominee said Wednesday at a rally in Henderson, Nevada.
“That was my first hire, as we would say in Las Vegas, and I’ll tell you he was a good one,” Trump said. “He was phenomenal. He was cool. He was smart. Just take a look at him. He was meant to be doing what he was doing, and we are very, very proud of Governor Mike Pence.”
Indeed, a snap poll by CNN rated Pence the debate’s winner, and the Indiana governor also won high marks from a CBS focus group of 25 undecided Ohio voters after the debate. The voters described Pence as calm, eloquent, composed and compelling amid a barrage of interruptions from Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine. (It’s not clear whether the favorable immediate reaction to the debate will actually benefit the Trump campaign in any way.)
Of course, the key to Pence’s strategy seemed to be pretending Trump doesn’t exist and weirdly denying that Trump had said a range of things ― from calling Mexicans rapists to encouraging nuclear proliferation ― that the businessman has actually said.
Don’t tell Trump. He went on to say Wednesday that Pence’s debate success reflected only the glory of Trump.
“I’d argue that Mike had the single most decisive victory in the history of vice presidential debates,” Trump said. “And last night America also got to look firsthand at my judgment.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.