Trump likely to announce running mate before convention: adviser

WASHINGTON Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump plans to make an announcement on his vice presidential pick before he heads to the party’s national convention in Cleveland next week, his campaign manager said on Friday.

Trump on Thursday abruptly postponed his announcement, scheduled for Friday, citing the deadly truck attack in France. Republican sources said his choice was expected to be Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Campaign chairman Paul Manafort said in television interviews Trump would make his choice known before the Republican National Convention begins Monday in Cleveland.

Manafort said Trump would set a new time on Friday for revealing his running mate for the Nov. 8 election. He told CNN he expected it “before we get to Cleveland.”

However, Manafort would not confirm the choice was Pence.

“I think that Mr Trump has reached a decision but he isn’t prepared to announce it yet. Until he announces it, there’s no formal nominee,” Manafort said on “Fox Friends.”

Trump himself told Fox News on Thursday night he had not made a “final, final decision” on a running mate. He heaped praise on Pence and his other two finalists, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

The New York businessman said he postponed his announcement out of respect for the victims in Nice, France, where an attacker in a heavy truck drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.

Trump, 70, is set to be formally nominated as the party’s candidate for the presidential election at the convention in Cleveland. Traditionally, the vice presidential choice is used to build enthusiasm among party loyalists.

The Republican National Committee expects the convention to draw 50,000 people to Cleveland and U.S. authorities were preparing for the possibility of violence – whether from demonstrators or planned attacks.

The Cleveland gathering and the Democratic Party Convention the following week in Philadelphia have been given the status of special national security event by the federal government for the first time and security will be heightened, said Republican Party spokesman Sean Spicer.

“They’re just going to make sure that it’s the safest place on Earth for the guests, the attendees, the delegates and the media,” Spicer told CNN.

The Department of Homeland Security will send more than 3,000 personnel to each convention, Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Thursday, speaking before the Nice attack. No specific or credible threat to either gathering has been reported, he said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Rigby and Frances Kerry)

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