Donald Trump’s latest reality show: The public teasing of who he will pick as his running mate.
It’s like something straight out of an episode of “The Apprentice.”
For the past week, Trump has, in an unprecedentedly public way, announced meetings with potential running mates, and dropped additional clues about his thought process. Aides with the Trump campaign have given wide ranging information, such as when he will announce the pick to who is really — and who is really not — being considered.
Trump reached peak showman on Wednesday when he called into Fox News to announce he had roughly 10 names left on a short list — more than had been previously reported — and said it included two generals and some names “that haven’t surfaced yet.”
“Well I’m actually looking at 10 people, and three or four called me up, very big names, Senate and governors and all,” the Manhattan billionaire said. “And they want to be considered. And we’re looking very, very strongly.”
Asked about the idea of having a general serve as his running mate, he said he likes the “concept of the generals.”
“We’re thinking about actually — there are two of them that are under consideration,” he said. “We really, we’re looking to go more the political route in terms of getting legislation passed which is what they do. And I think frankly, we don’t want to do the executive orders, like Obama’s been doing. He just sits down, signs executive orders all day long. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. So, I really have been thinking in terms of the politicians, but we’re looking at two generals.”
Gens. Michael Flynn — who the New York Post reported Tuesday was in the vetting process — and Stanley McChrystal have been two that are often named as potential fits to be Trump’s running mate.
Trump told the Cincinnati crowd that Gingrich would somehow be a part of his theoretical administration as the crowd started cheering “Newt! Newt! Newt!”
“Wow. … I like that too,” he replied. “We like Newt!”
“Newt has been my friend for a long time,” he continued. “And I’m not saying anything, and I’m not telling even Newt anything, but I can tell you, in one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government.”
“He’s smart. He’s tough. He gets it,” Trump said, amid louder cheers. “And he says I’m the biggest thing he’s ever seen in the history of politics.”
The Manhattan billionaire dropped the biggest wink-wink hint when he brought up the vice presidential debates.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be Newt, but if it’s him, no one’s going to be beating him in the debates,” he said.
Around the same time Trump dropped hints about Gingrich and his short list, some of the names most closely connected to the presumptive Republican nominee took themselves out of consideration.
“The only people who are not interested in being the V.P. pick are the people who have not been asked!” Trump tweeted on July 4th, shortly after posting about meeting with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst over the weekend.
He’d later post about meeting with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker ahead of the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee introducing him at a North Carolina rally where he promptly praised deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for being great at killing terrorists.
Shortly after the meetings, both Ernst and Corker would take themselves out of consideration for the role.
On his way off the island, Corker dropped a mini-bomb of his own.
“You know, the Trump family is most impressive,” Corker said Wednesday. “His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka.”
“I know that wouldn’t pass muster probably,” he said of the idea of Trump’s daughter serving as his vice president. “But I don’t know that I’ve met a more composed, brilliant, beautiful-in-every-way person.”
Although Trump himself would not comment on that suggestion, his son, Eric Trump, told Fox & Friends Thursday that, “Hey, she’s certainly got my vote.”
“She’ll just be 35,” he said. “Her birthday is at the end of October, so she just makes it by seven or eight days.”
Lost amid all the drama was the status of one of Trump’s longest major supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s been rumoured as a potential running mate since he endorsed the bombastic billionaire in late February. Christie has repeatedly been named as a member of Trump’s short list in recent months.
But unfortunately for Christie, it seems as if his time as a part of the veepstakes is coming to an end.
A source told the Newark Star-Ledger that Christie filled out more than 100 pages of disclosure documents for the Trump campaign simply because “it would be embarrassing not to be vetted.”
With less than 10 days to go before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump told multiple outlets recently that the announcement will “probably” be made “sometime prior to the convention.
“People are calling me that you wouldn’t even think about,” he said in his recent Fox News interview. “They want to have their names thrown into the hat. And we’re gonna look at some people. So we have a lot of interest in it, believe me.”
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