World & Nation

Donald Trump misses a big opportunity to promote his running mate pick

Mike and Karen Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, center, and his wife, Karen, after meeting with Donald Trump in New York on Friday.
(Andres Kudacki / Associated Press)

Hours after Donald Trump revealed that Mike Pence would be his running mate, the silver-haired Indiana governor occupied prominent space on a presidential campaign website. The only problem: The website was Hillary Clinton’s.

Clinton’s team published a page to attacking Pence almost immediately after the announcement, describing Trump’s pick as a “would-be disaster for America.”

Meanwhile, on Trump’s website, mention of the Indiana governor was practically invisible, save for an automatic stream of the real estate mogul’s Twitter feed far at the bottom of the page.

Trump’s announcement — fittingly made on Twitter, where he has elevated his unfiltered musings to a political art form — lacked many of the digital trappings of a modern presidential campaign, a reflection of the presumptive GOP nominee’s unorthodox and at times haphazard operation.

And the roll-out stood in stark contrast to Clinton’s rapid response, which included a slickly produced video and talking points in Spanish. 

“It's a highly professional, mechanized campaign in Clinton world in Brooklyn, and then over at Trump Tower, it’s all being run out of his back pocket. It's by the seat of his pants,” said Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento-based Republican strategist who does not support Trump.

Soon after Trump tweeted his choice Friday morning, journalists and political observers noted the unveiling was markedly incomplete. One reporter catalogued 11 details the Trump campaign overlooked in the announcement, including a failure to secure relevant Web domains and update Pence’s own campaign website. (Pence dropped out of the governor’s race on Friday in order to join the ticket.)

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign was quick to capitalize on the announcement. It organized a conference call with groups supporting gay and abortion rights to denounce the pick, and texted supporters about the news, coupling attacks on Pence’s record with a fundraising appeal.

And then there’s Trump’s new logo, revealed in a fundraising missive. The interlocking T and P struck some observers as hastily designed, with its apparently inadvertently graphic overtones.

These may be small details, but Stutzman said the omissions were symptomatic of a disorganization that could spill over into crucial digital operations like fundraising or targeting key voters.

“This is evidence that suggests that this is not a well-managed, well-run, state-of-the art campaign,” he said.

Follow @melmason for the latest on national politics.

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