Choosing a running mate was a family affair for Donald Trump -- and although the president's eldest children, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric, helped with vetting it was his wife, Melania, who sealed the deal for the "safe" and scandal-free Mike Pence

By Tierney McAfee
June 06, 2018 03:51 PM
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Choosing a running mate was a family affair for Donald Trump — and although the president’s eldest children, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric, helped with vetting it was his wife, Melania, who sealed the deal for the “safe” and scandal-free Mike Pence.

In the final summer 2016 meeting to determine Trump’s vice presidential pick, Melania was a critical voice, insisting that whomever was chosen must be “clean,” according to a new book, First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power, released Tuesday.

“That meant no affairs and no messy financial entanglements. In short, it meant no drama. She realized her husband had enough of that already,” writes author Kate Andersen Brower.

Melania was “decidedly in Pence’s corner” because she saw the need to balance out her husband’s scandal-laden life and impulsive nature with someone more even-keeled — who had “absolutely no skeletons” in his closet.

The president has often spoken about how much he values his wife’s advice, and in this case, the author writes, “Melania’s shrewd instincts proved correct.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

“Mike Pence was by far the least controversial on Trump’s list of vice presidential candidates, and Pence could help Trump win over conservative Republicans.”

In the end, Trump followed his wife’s advice and chose Pence, a devout Evangelical Christian, over a far more controversial finalist: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who, like Trump, also had three marriages under his belt.

Pence was happy to accept the offer when Trump’s call came — but then again, Andersen Brower writes, Pence was “not truly expecting to win.”