CLEVELAND — Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence gave a very well received speech to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, striking a chord of unity as he led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“What unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart in America,” he said.
Trump appeared briefly with Pence on stage after the speech, giving a glimpse of the atmosphere on Thursday, the final night of the convention. Pence’s speech could make up for the sting of the evening — Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement.
His speech was a mix of self-effacement and extended endorsement of Donald Trump, and he got some of his biggest cheers when he repeated his attack on Hillary Clinton, that she would “never become president of the United States,” and noted that Thursday marked six months left in President Obama’s term.
He acknowledged that for many watching, and in the arena, he is an unknown. “For those of you who don’t know me, like most of you…” It drew laughs.
He also acknowledged that he didn’t have the rhetorical thunder of Trump, but he actually got high marks for his delivery. Some watchers in the hall remarked that they wondered whether he should be president.
Pence praised Trump as a respected boss and devoted father, and then praised his family, telling the arena, “You can’t fake great kids.”
He also called for the party to coalesce behind Trump.
“We have but one choice and that man is ready. This team is ready. Our party is ready,” Pence said.
One of his most memorable lines came when he said that when Trump becomes president, the change “will be huge.”
Trump’s use of the word “huge” — a Trumpism — got some delegates to repeat it in imitation.
Pence also amplified Trump’s law and order theme, telling the delegates, “We always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line of law enforcement.”