Donald Trump never wavered on his selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate — but publicly, wanted to "keep people guessing" and "make it more suspenseful," Republican National Committee's chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday.
In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union"
on Sunday, Priebus batted down a CNN report
last Friday that Trump's heart wasn't in the Pence pick, and that he'd asked aides if he could "get out of it."
"I spoke to him multiple times that day," Priebus said. "I know what he was thinking. He certainly didn't want to make an announcement on the heels of the disaster in Nice and so he decided to announce on Saturday and no time in between that was he skeptical of the Pence pick."
When pressed on Trump's comments to Fox News's Greta Van Susteren
that he'd not yet made his "final, final decision" — even after Pence had already flown to New York on Thursday, Priebus added, "He wanted to keep people guessing. "
"He wanted to make it more suspenseful and the fact that everything was coming down and people were talking, I think that frustrated Donald Trump," Priebus said. "He knew Pence was the right pick and that's where his head and heart was at for quite some time before."
Priebus also defended the policy differences between Trump and his No. 2, including on the Iraq war — Pence had backed it, Trump says he did not — and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Pence also has supported though Trump has denounced.
"I think that what it does show is that Donald Trump is willing to be challenged by other people," Priebus said.
"It shows that he's not looking for … 'yes' people around him and he's also willing and wants to show the American people that he wants to put a person on the ticket that doesn't agree with him on everything. I think that shows a lot of maturity. I think it shows an understanding of the electorate and an understanding of what the job is to defeat Hillary Clinton. I think it's very good."
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