‘Let Mike be Mike’: Inside the sometimes awkward Trump-Pence partnership

From The Washington Post:

They made no changes.

Eleven days later, the Republican vice-presidential nominee crafted a statement about the Muslim American parents of an Army officer killed in Iraq. It contained none of the vitriol that Trump had directed at the same family.

Again, no changes.

These moments, confirmed by several campaign aides, reveal an emerging dynamic between this odd-couple Republican ticket: They’re not always on the same page, and they don’t always co­ordinate.

It happened again, in public, this week: Just one day after Trump had declined to endorse House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in his Wisconsin primary, Pence did so enthusiastically.

In the opening weeks of their partnership, Trump has granted his running mate broad leeway with no precedent in recent presidential campaigns, amplifying differences in style and substance between the Indiana governor and New York real estate mogul. For a campaign whose mantra long has been “Let Trump be Trump,” the guiding principle that has formed around Pence is, as one of the aides put it, “Let Mike be Mike.”

The strategy amounts to a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Trump advisers believe Pence could help repackage the ticket for voters turned off by Trump: Where Trump is brash and bristly, Pence is cool and collected. Trump shoots from the hip, but Pence is cautious.

But at times Trump and Pence deliver contradictory, even awkward messages, as with their statements this week about Ryan. It has become clear that the two men are intentionally speaking to different groups of voters — Trump to frustrated and restive outsiders and Pence to mainstream conservatives and Republican establishment figures. Their apparent lack of coordination, however, gives the partnership an unpredictable cast.

Trump’s capacity to go off-script could also interfere with the strategy. On …

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