ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — Hillary Clinton will introduce her running mate Friday, seeking to snatch attention from newly crowned Republican nominee Donald Trump a day after he closed out his convention with a fiery and foreboding turn at the podium.
A person familiar with the Clinton campaign’s plans said Friday that first word would come later in the day in a text message to supporters and the new team will appear together in Florida on Saturday.
The person was not authorized to discuss the campaign’s internal plans publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is the leading contender, according to a pair of Democrats familiar with Clinton’s search.
Active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs, Kaine has a reputation for working with both parties as Virginia’s governor and Richmond’s mayor. He spent the day in New England at a pair of fundraisers.
Clinton made no mention of her impending pick during a somber meeting Friday with community leaders and family members affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. She later visited the site of the rampage that killed 49 people, placing a bouquet of white flowers at the site next to a candle and a framed picture of a cross.
Clinton said gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to be victims of a hate crime than other people. “It is still dangerous to be LGBT in America,” she said. “We have to stand against hate and bigotry.”
After the event, Clinton tweeted that she was “monitoring the horrific situation in Munich.” Police in the German city warned people to stay indoors and avoid public places Friday as they hunted for the shooter or shooters who opened fire at a shopping mall, killing six people and wounding others.
“We stand with our friends in Germany as they work to bring those responsible to justice,” she wrote.
There was no mention of her VP pick, either, at an evening rally in Tampa. But Clinton didn’t hold back when it came to Trump and the GOP convention, which she deemed “perversely flatteringly” for spending more time talking about her than the problems facing the country.
“I never thought I’d say these words, but Ted Cruz was right,” Clinton said. “In this election, do the right thing and vote your conscience.”
It was a reference to the Texas senator and former GOP primary rival, who shocked the Republican convention by refusing to endorse the nominee. Trump on Friday further stoked his feud with Cruz, saying he wouldn’t accept Cruz’s endorsement even if it were offered.
“What difference does it make?” Trump asked, as he wondered aloud if he could create a super PAC as president to go after Cruz. He added: “Ted, stay home. Relax. Enjoy yourself.”
Trump also boasted of his TV ratings, his primary victories and other achievements, including winning over his wife, Melania, in a stream-of-consciousness delivery with his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, standing quietly nearby.
“I don’t do anything unless I win,” Trump insisted. He promised to work “so hard” and vowed his campaign was “not going to disappear,” though he has no plans to campaign this weekend and no events on his schedule for next week.
In an 75-minute speech Thursday night, Trump made forceful promises to be the champion of disaffected Americans, capping his convention on a high note for the party, not a moment too soon after shows of disharmony and assorted flubs before the four-day closer.
Speaking to “the forgotten men and women of our country,” the people who “work hard but no longer have a voice,” he declared, “I am your voice.” The speech was strikingly dark for a celebratory event and almost entirely lacking in policy details.
Democrats offered a different assessment. President Barack Obama said Friday the picture Trump painted of the nation “doesn’t really jibe with the experience with most people.”
During their convention, Republicans were relentless and often raw in demonizing Clinton. As fired-up supporters at Trump’s acceptance speech broke out in their oft-used refrain of “Lock her up,” the nominee waved them off, and instead declared, “Let’s defeat her in November.” Yet he also accused her of “terrible, terrible crimes.”
“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” he said. “But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.”
The Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which starts Monday, is expected to be a more orderly affair.
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