Donald Trump and Mike Pence get off to uneasy start in first joint interview

Interview highlights awkward coming together of New York billionaire and Indiana social conservative

Donald Trump and Mike Pence get off to uneasy start in first joint interview

Donald Trump and Mike Pence during their '60 Minutes' interview on CBS last night | Screeshot

Divisions between Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and his new running mate have been laid bare in their first joint interview.

Indiana governor Mike Pence remained silent for most of the 21-minute grilling, which aired on the CBS programme '60 Minutes' last night.

Mr Trump dominated the segment as he tackled questions on policy areas over which the two have disagreed, including trade, immigration and foreign conflict.

The presumptive Republican nominee at one point dismissed Mr Pence’s support of the Iraq War, despite having repeatedly chastised Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for backing military intervention in 2002.

Mr Trump joked that his vice-presidential pick was “entitled to make a mistake every once in a while”.

He later gave the governor permission to respond to questioning on John McCain’s war record in Vietnam.

Presenter Lesley Stahl asked if Mr Pence if he shared his colleague’s opinion that the former prisoner of war is “not a hero” because of his capture.

“I have a great deal of respect for John McCain,” he began, before Ms Stahl interrupted to query if he thought Mr Trump went “too far” in his view. 

Mr Trump then interjected: “That one, you could say yes, I mean, you're not - it's fine - hey, look, I like John McCain. But we have to take care of our vets.”

His running mate later came back in with his own response.

"I promise you that when the circumstances arise where I have a difference on policy or on presentation, I can tell you in my heart, I know I would have no hesitation - were I privileged to be vice president,” he said.

"And I also know this good man would listen, and has the leadership qualities to draw from the people around him."

Immigration

Mr Pence also distanced himself from previous criticism of Mr Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim entering the US.

Asked if he agreed with the proposition, he said: “I do. In fact, in Indiana we suspended the Syrian refugee programme in the wake of the terrorist attack.

“We have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of this country.”

In another awkward exchange, Mr Pence said the New York billionaire is "clearly not a politician" and instead "speaks from the heart".

 

Mr Trump corrected him: "Well, I speak from my heart and my brain. Just so we understand."

Pointing to his head, he added: "This is maybe more important."

The interview came just ahead of the Republican National Convention, which is due to kick off in Cleveland later today.

Mr Trump will be formally confirmed as the party's presidential nomination over the course of the four-day event.

The full 60 Minutes interview can be watched here.