Donald Trump hit two home runs this week. The first, immediately following the horrific terrorist truck attack in Nice, was his statement in a media interview that if elected he would ask Congress for a declaration of war to combat global terrorism. The second was the inspired selection of Indiana governor Mike Pence to join the GOP ticket.
Before getting to Pence, let me linger a moment on Trump's declaration-of-war pronouncement.
For well over a year I have argued for a Washington wake-up call whereby the president and Congress enact a formal declaration of war against ISIS and all other Islamic jihadist terror groups. These groups have declared war on us. We have yet to respond.
Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris late last year, French president Francois Hollande declared war on ISIS. It was an act of courage. But France had to go it alone.
France has been an American ally for about 250 years. It is a key member of NATO. But President Obama never stood shoulder to shoulder with Hollande and asked for a declaration of war against ISIS. Nor did he use American clout for a NATO declaration of war.
Why is this important? I believe a war declaration would show energy, urgency, determination, and leadership -- not only to rally Americans, but to send a global message to the terrorists.
I recently interviewed former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz, as well as retired four-star general Jack Keene. They all endorsed a full-throated U.S. declaration of war. And they added that with such a declaration, the U.S. must be prepared to destroy ISIS in its safe havens in Iraq and Syria.
So when Donald Trump made it clear that this, in fact, "is war," deserving of a declaration of war, he distinguished himself. No one else has done it. Not Congress. Not Obama. Certainly not Hillary.
Trump's second home run was his selection of Mike Pence as his running mate. Down through the years, as a leader of the conservative House Republican Study Committee and later as the third-ranking member of the House Republican leadership team, he stood firm as a genuine and consistent conservative.
On economic policy Pence has held to the key building block of growth. He is a budget hawk who voted against President George W. Bush's fiscally bloated No Child Left Behind education bill and hyper-expensive Medicare prescription-drug bill. He said he would not support new middle-class entitlements. He was consistent.