Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers a speech in Virginia Beach, Virginia U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron(reuters_tickers)
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans Donald Trump and Chris Christie teamed up on Monday to assail Democratic President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as weak on domestic security, making the kind of one-two punch possible if Trump picks Christie as his running mate.
At a rally in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and Christie, the tough-talking New Jersey governor, seized on the Dallas police shootings as examples of why Americans need a "law and order" candidate like Trump.
Much of the debate about security in the presidential campaign has been about threats abroad. The shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers last week and violence in other cities have shifted the debate back home for now.
Trump, a wealthy real estate developer, presented himself as "the law and order candidate" and called Clinton weak. He said she has grown out of touch with the plight of ordinary Americans and cited her making paid speeches to corporate interests as a cause.
"Perhaps it is easy for politicians to lose touch with reality when they are being paid millions of dollars to read speeches to Wall Street executives, instead of spending time with real people in real pain," he said.
"The disconnect in America is deep. There are two Americas: the ruling class, and the groups it favours, and then everyone else," said Trump.
In the final days of his search for a vice presidential running mate, Trump was introduced at the event by Christie, who is one of Trump's top potential picks to be his vice presidential running mate.
Christie, a former rival of Trump for the presidential nomination, showed himself capable of assuming the role of political attack dog, a job the vice presidential nominee usually assumes. He suggested Obama has taken sides against police in the country's debate over race and police brutality.
"We need a president who once again will put law and order at the top of the priority of the presidency of this country," Christie said. "Our police officers ... need to understand that the president of the United States and his administration will give them the benefit of the doubt, not always believe that what they have done is somehow wrong."
Trump has been test-driving his vice presidential possibilities. He campaigned last week with former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, and is to appear with a third No. 2 possibility, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, in Indiana on Tuesday.
The New York businessman has appeared most comfortable publicly with Gingrich. Both Gingrich and Christie have been advisers for Trump behind the scenes.
Trump is also considering retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn for the job, but told The Washington Post in an interview published on Monday that he is leaning toward a conventional politician.
"I don’t need two anti-establishment people," Trump said. "Someone respected by the establishment and liked by the establishment would be good for unification. I do like unification of the Republican Party."
Trump said he would decide on his vice presidential pick in the next three or four days. The Republican National Convention, at which he is to be nominated as the party's candidate, opens in Cleveland next Monday.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)