Will Trump Pick This VP Contender Who Opposes His Signature Policy Position?

Mike Pence loves NAFTA, CAFTA, and the TPP. Does Trump know this?

Stacy Revere/Zuma

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The guessing game concerning Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick entered a new round this morning, as the presumptive Republican nominee, his adult children, and campaign manager Paul Manafort visited the home of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Pence is one of the few potential Trump running mates who has not publicly turned down the job, and he would bring social conservative cred to Trump’s White House bid.

As the Washington Post reported earlier this week, Pence has held a radically different position from Trump on a central issue in the campaign, because Pence is a major advocate for free-trade deals, which Trump has railed against, calling for higher tariffs on trading partners and penalties for companies that move jobs overseas. The Post noted that Pence has backed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, two of Trump’s top targets.

But as a congressman who consistently voted for free trade agreements, Pence offered a full-throated endorsement of the North American Free Trade Agreement, another one of Trump’s targets. Trump has decried NAFTA as a “disaster” that has allowed other countries to defraud the United States. Yet Pence praised the deal in 2001 and insisted that NAFTA had brought hundreds of millions of dollars to his home state of Indiana. He claimed that under NAFTA, “the volume of US corn exports to Mexico has nearly tripled since 1994.”

Watch Pence champion the deal Trump considers evil:

In 2005, Pence urged his House colleagues in Congress to pass the CAFTA, arguing that “a dream of democracy” was at stake with the vote. “Let us not in this Congress and in this nation turn our backs today on those same fledgling democracies that are embracing our principles of free-market economics and freedom,” Pence said.

Watch that here:

Can Trump pick a running mate who holds the exact opposite policy on one of Trump’s signature issues? Who embraces the “rigged system” that Trump holds responsible for undermining American greatness? The world will know soon.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend