In First Joint Interview, Mike Pence Aims to Be Trump-Interpreter

Donald Trump and Mike Pence test out their new partnership on national televisio

ByABC News
July 17, 2016, 8:26 PM

— -- In their first joint interview on the eve of the Republican National Convention, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and his vice-presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, tested the waters of their new-formed alliance in an interview on CBS News' "60 Minutes."

Pence had the more daunting task -- to defend his partner and articulate his own thoughts, in spite of his initial misgivings about Trump.

"This campaign and Donald Trump's candidacy has been about the issues the American people care about," Pence said.

He had to clarify past statements that contradicted Trump's policies; Pence had condemned Trump's proposed Muslim ban. On Sunday, he defended it.

"We have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of this country, and -- and Donald Trump is right to articulate that view," he said. Trump has since amended his position to ban immigration from certain territories, though he hasn't explicitly come out against a religious test for immigrants.

Trump also frequently condemns the decision to go into the Iraq War (though he initially supported the decision). Pence voted for it while he was in Congress.

"I don't care. He's entitled to make a mistake every once in a while," Trump said, laughing.

Pence also previewed other lines he would use out on the stump when presented with areas of disagreement. When asked if he agreed, as Trump has advocated, that waterboarding should be brought back, he demurred.

"I don't think we should ever tell our enemy what our tactics are," he said.

The duo hasn’t quite evolved into a bromance just yet. Trump interrupted Pence frequently during the interview, with Pence smiling, chuckling at times.

But Pence seemed to preview his own role as a Trump-interpreter of sorts -- a measured, experienced politician who can frame Trump's more controversial views and mold them to be more palatable for a wary audience.

Trump attacked NAFTA, a trade agreement that Pence supported. But while Trump bashed it, Pence sought to clarify.

"What -- what I hear Donald Trump saying is let's -- let's look at these trade agreements and reconsider them and renegotiate them," Pence said.

Trump was later asked if he was humble, demurring to talk about the money he's invested in his campaign and his ability to fix the nation's problems.

Pence interjected.

"Talking with him in private settings, I love the words you used because this man is awed with the American people, and he is not intimidated by the world. And Donald Trump, this good man, I believe, will be a great president of the United States," he said.

After a pause, Trump replied, "I love what he just said."

The GOP convention begins on Monday in Cleveland. There have been concerns over the state's open-carry laws. Trump seemed to support protesters leaving their guns at home.

"If they don't want to take their guns, I think that's fantastic. But I have great confidence in law enforcement," he said. "The police like Donald Trump. It's law and order."

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