With only a few days remaining before the Indiana primary, Gov. Mike Pence has endorsed Ted Cruz. He did so during a radio interview this morning.
Pence began by praising Donald Trump. He stated:
I like and respect all three of the Republican candidates in the field. I particularly want to commend Donald Trump who I think has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with a lack of progress in Washington, D.C.
I am also particularly grateful that Donald Trump has taken a strong for Hoosier jobs when we saw jobs of the Carrier company abruptly announcing they are leaving Indiana. Not for another state, but for Mexico.
Pence then said: “I have come to my decision of who I am supporting and I am not against anybody, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary.”
I don’t blame Pence for commending Trump. He’s likely to be the GOP nominee and Pence says he would support him in the general election. From Pence’s point of view, then, there’s little point in being anti-Trump. That would only help the Democrats and reduce Pence’s popularity among Indiana Republicans.
I do blame Pence for waiting so long to endorse Cruz. When questioned about why he supports the Texas Senator, Pence explained that Cruz is a Reagan Republican who stands solidly for conservative principles and has been willing to fight for them in Washington, even when it meant bucking his party. Pence also noted Cruz’s unyielding pro-life position. This issue is near and dear to the Indiana governor.
Why, then, didn’t Pence endorse Cruz straight away? Trump is not a Reagan Republican — his approach differs materially from the Gipper’s with respect to foreign policy, the role of government, and taxation. Nor has Trump been strongly and consistently pro-life. (Kasich, broadly speaking, might be considered a Reagan Republican, but certainly not to the extent Cruz is).
Accordingly, I see no good excuse for Pence’s delay in endorsing Ted Cruz. Late is better than never, but in this case late isn’t good enough.