Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence emerged Monday after a weekend out of the public eye reaffirming his relationship — awkward as it seemed — with Donald Trump.
After canceling a weekend campaign appearance and leaving Trump alone to deal with a video of sexually predatory remarks, Pence trumpeted the GOP nominee's debate performance and hit the road for swing-state North Carolina.
"Donald Trump stepped up and won a debate last night that seemed against all odds," Pence said in an interview on Fox News Channel. "He stepped up, he showed humility and showed strength."
In that way, Pence was answering any doubts he would remain with Trump, after a 48-hour stretch in which scores of Republican candidates and leaders abandoned the presidential nominee over the 2005 remarks.
Addressing a town hall event in North Carolina, Pence said, "You have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down. He is a fighter. He is a winner.” Pence added that Trump showed those qualities at the debate when he apologized for his remarks about women.
"It takes a big man to know when he’s wrong…and Donald Trump showed that he’s a big man," Pence said, later adding that he's proud to stand with Trump.
Pence and Trump spoke Sunday evening after the GOP nominee faced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in their second debate, where Trump apologized but also dismissed the vivid and degrading sexual comments as "locker room talk" and blasted former President Bill Clinton as having been "far worse."
After the publication of the video and story about the comments by The Washington Post, Pence issued a statement saying he was "offended by them" and did "not condone his remarks and cannot defend them."
Pence, who is married and has two daughters, also canceled what was to be a joint appearance with Trump Saturday in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
A Pence aide said he had spoken with Trump after Sunday's debate. Pence also posted a Tweet Sunday evening praising Trump's debate performance.
Pence was en route to North Carolina for public events in Charlotte and Fletcher, and had stops in Iowa and Virginia planned for later in week.