Presidential Debate

Mike Pence says reports he considered leaving ticket were 'absolutely false'

Republican vice presidential nominee explains why Donald Trump won the debate

 

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said on Monday that rumors he recently considered leaving the Republican ticket were "absolutely false."

Pence was responding to reports he had struggled with the decision to remain Donald Trump's running mate after a 2005 video surfaced on Friday of Trump making lewd comments. Pence released a statement condemning the 11-year-old remarks, but otherwise kept quiet this weekend.

"I wanted to give him time to show his heart on Sunday night," Pence said on "Fox & Friends," referencing the presidential debate.

The Indiana governor said Trump showed "humility," "strength" and "genuine contrition" for his crude hot mic comments when asked about them during the debate.

"The real story this morning is that Donald Trump stepped up and won a debate last night that seemed to be against all odds," Pence said.

Pence said he "encouraged" Trump to express his "sincere, personal remorse."

“I’m just proud of the job he did, proud of my running mate and looking forward to being on the campaign trail today in North Carolina," he said.

Pence said he hoped some of the GOP lawmakers who had abandoned Trump – or were thinking about abandoning him – over the remarks would reconsider.

“My hope is that people across the country, including elected officials believe in redemption as much as I do, believe in second chances as much as I do,” said Pence, who indicated he would speak with any elected official who still expressed doubts.

Asked about a possible split between Pence and Trump on the subject of Russia's role in the Syrian conflict, Pence said his opinion was "mischaracterized" by debate moderator Martha Raddatz and suggested there was no daylight between Trump and himself.

Told during the debate that Pence had been critical of Russia's support for Syria's ruling regime, Trump replied: “Okay. He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree. I disagree. I think you have to knock out ISIS.”

A source told Fox News on Sunday that Pence and Trump spoke on the phone after the debate, and Pence also tweeted his congratulations to Trump for a "big debate win" later in the night.