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Thursday, July 14, 2016, 17:08

Trump to announce pick Friday

By Reuters

Trump to announce pick Friday
Presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addreses a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, Indiana. (AFP)

WASHINGTON - Republican Donald Trump conducted last-minute talks with his top potential picks for his vice presidential running mate on Wednesday and said he would announce his choice on Friday in New York.

"I will be making the announcement of my Vice Presidential pick on Friday at 11am in Manhattan. Details to follow," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee tweeted on Wednesday night.

Trump had a breakfast meeting on Wednesday with Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and later sat down for talks with former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich. His family met on Tuesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who speaks to Trump on a near-daily basis.

In addition, US Senator Jeff Sessions, 69, of Alabama, a fourth potential candidate for the No. 2 spot who has been a close adviser to Trump, was seen going into the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis, where Trump was.

A source close to the campaign said Trump appeared to be leaning toward Pence but that he could always change his mind. "It's not done until it's done," the source said.

Trump seemed to be trying to decide between Pence and Gingrich, the source added.

The New York businessman is to be formally nominated at the Republican National Convention next week in Cleveland. Traditionally, the vice presidential choice is used to build enthusiasm among party loyalists.

Pence, who faces a Friday deadline on whether to have his name on the ballot to seek another term as governor, said he was humbled to be considered for Trump's running mate.

"I think he's giving it very careful consideration, and we're humbled to be a part of that," Pence told reporters later. "There are a number of other noteworthy Americans that they are considering, and I'm just honored to be on that list."

Republicans close to the campaign said they believed Trump had narrowed his short list to Pence, Gingrich and Christie.

He has campaigned with all three in recent days as he girds for perhaps the most consequential decision of his campaign ahead of the Nov 8 election.

In a sign of how seriously the campaign is considering Pence, Trump was joined at the governor's residence for breakfast by his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Kushner and Trump's children have played important roles in the campaign.

Trump's children met with Christie on Tuesday, a source close to the governor confirmed, describing the meeting as good and saying both parties had an existing relationship and were already friendly.

Trump, who wants an experienced politician to join him on the ticket, campaigned with Pence at a rally on Tuesday night in Westfield, Indiana.

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