Pence grilled by conservative host on Trump's temperament

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DETROIT — Conservative radio host Charlie Sykes challenged Mike Pence in an interview Monday to persuade his running mate to "stop saying crazy and offensive things" over the remainder of the presidential campaign, prompting a five-second pause by the GOP vice presidential nominee as he formulated a response for Trump's incessant use of offensive names and insinuations.

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"Last week was a rocky week — there was talk, you know, of suicidal campaign staffers, [and] the possibility of a so-called intervention in the campaign after a lot of self-inflicted wounds," the Wisconsin-based WTMJ radio host said. "So I'll ask this as bluntly as I can — can you or anyone else get Mr. Trump to stop saying crazy and offensive things for the next three months?"

Pence, reluctant to answer for several seconds, eventually responded to the stories of campaign disarray. "You always hear these rumors," Pence said. "It just, you know, I guess it makes for good fodder on the internet. I tell you, this campaign is head down, going after it hard."

he Indiana governor went on to encourage Sykes -- a frequent Trump critic -- and his listeners to "just get ready" and read Trump's economic policy plan, which the nominee unveiled in Detroit Monday. But Sykes interjected, asking if Trump would be able to focus his attention on issues like the economy.

Pence demurred, saying the campaign is "now moving in the direction of the fall campaign" and that more "very specific policies" should be expected.

See images from Pence's acceptance speech:

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Mike Pence acceptance speech
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence at the end of the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his family great supporters on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Donald Trump joins Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and his running mate Mike Pence appear on stage at the Republican National Convention held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Mike Pence, running mate of Presidential candidate Donald Trump, addresses the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence prepares to address the crowd, during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is greeted by House Speaker Paul Ryan before he addresses the crowd, during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson-Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets vice presidential candidate Mike Pence after his speech on day three of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 20, 2016. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, USA - JULY 20: Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump points to Indiana Governor Mike Pence after he officially accepted the Republican nomination of Vice President during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, USA - JULY 20: Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump attempts to kiss Indiana Governor Mike Pence after he officially accepted the Republican nomination of Vice President during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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But when pressed on whether that indicated a "pivot" by Trump into a "new, presidential, on-message" candidate, Pence suggested "people can characterize it" how they like.

Sykes also questioned Pence over Trump's remarks about the parents of fallen Captain Humayun Khan, asking the VP candidate twice whether Trump should apologize to the Khan family.

Pence did not answer the question but responded: "I think he's made it clear that Captain Khan is an American hero. And I think he's, I think he's think he's demonstrated his heart about this man."

Sykes pushed Pence to square his own advocacy for religious liberties with Trump's proposed ban on Muslim entering the United States. Pence said that he does not see the plan as a ban on a particular religion, telling Sykes he "made my position clear" at the time of Trump's initial proposal in December when he called it "offensive and unconstitutional."

Instead, Pence on Monday clarified what, according to him, the ticket's position is on new immigration and refugee control measures.

"What I can tell you the position that Donald Trump is advocating today is that we should temporarily suspend immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism," Pence said, calling that proposal "altogether fitting and appropriate."

Sykes' interview with Donald Trump ahead of the Wisconsin primary in early April gained great attention when the Wisconsinite called into question the then-frontrunner's personal conduct on the campaign trail after he tweeted an unflattering photo of Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi Cruz.

"I didn't start it — he started it. Again, if he didn't start it, nothing like this would have happened," Trump told Sykes in the March 28 interview.

Sykes rebuked Trump directly in the interview: "I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on the playground. Not somebody who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln."

Trump, days later, called Sykes "a dope."

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"We have these dopey guys. This one guy — he's such a dope. I talked him, a radio guy, some guy named Sykes," Trump said. "What a dope. The guy doesn't — no, he doesn't have a clue."

On Monday during their interview exchange, Sykes played the clip of Trump's name calling for Pence to listen to.

Pence, who, Sykes said, reached out to him to appear on the show, lightly laughed at the audio and responded: "Well, Charlie, I've been a fan of yours for many, many years. I appreciate your common sense, conservative voice across the airwaves."

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