When Donald Trump was considering Vice Presidential candidates, Mike Pence didn’t immediately impress the then-nominee. What gave Trump reservations about Pence was the now-Vice President’s finances. According to The Atlantic, “coming into the game, Trump had formed an opinion of the Indiana governor as prudish, stiff, and embarrassingly poor, according to one longtime associate.”
So how did Pence end up beating New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to become the running mate? Campaign manager Paul Manafort, who lied and said Trump’s plane had broken down when Trump happened to be in Indiana. “With nowhere else to go, Trump accepted an invitation to dine with the Pences,” The Atlantic writes. Pence also praised Trump’s golf game and fawned over his “broad shoulders.”
Despite this, Trump still thinks Pence is far too poor:
When it was reported last January that the Pences would be moving some of their family pets — which include two cats, a rabbit, and a snake — into the Naval Observatory, Trump ridiculed the menagerie to his secretary, according to a longtime adviser. “He was embarrassed by it; he thought it was so low class,” says the adviser. “He thinks the Pences are yokels.”
Just how poor is Pence? In 10 years, Pence never “topped $200,000 a year,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in 2016. “On their most recent return, Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, reported $113,026 in adjusted gross income, almost all from Mr. Pence’s salary as governor of Indiana.”
To Trump, a 100K salary is considered poor. And he thinks he understands low and middle-income Americans.