WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump reportedly is set to name as his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whose congressional career was marked by his leadership on pro-Israel issues.
The New York Times first reported the pick on Thursday, quoting anonymous campaign officials. However, the newspaper cautioned that the selection was not yet a certainty and the presumptive Republican nominee, who prides himself on being unpredictable, could change his mind before his Friday announcement set for 11 a.m. Eastern time.
Pence, a conservative Christian, emerged quickly as a leader on pro-Israel issues during his decade in Congress from 2001 to 2013, where he rose rapidly in the GOP caucus leadership, chairing the Republican Conference in his penultimate term, 2011-2013. He led a number of bids to place conditions on funding for the Palestinian Authority, and in 2007 he joined then-Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla., in convening the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force.
He has continued his pro-Israel advocacy as Indiana governor, earlier this year signing one of the most robust state laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Jewish Republicans over the years have embraced Pence with enthusiasm, although his conservatism on social issues has raised concerns. In 2015, at the springtime Republican Jewish Coalition retreat in Las Vegas, RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks pressed him on an Indiana law that would allow businesses to decline service to LGBT people. The law was revised and moderated after Pence faced threats of boycotts of the state.