It’s normal politics for a person to deny that they have any interest in a potential appointment to the vice presidency, but when the response to the possibility of becoming GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s vice president pick is “Hahahahahahahahaha,” it probably signals true disinterest.
Yet “hahahahahahahahaha” is exactly what Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Jeb Bush, wrote in response to the question of whether Jeb would consider becoming Donald Trump’s vice president pick. And although Bradshaw’s response is somewhat harsh, the sentiment seems to remain consistent across the board.
Chris Schrimpf, spokesman for Governor John Kasich, who still remains in the Republican primary despite having garnered only 153 delegates thus far, answered the question bluntly. “Never,” he said. “No chance.”
Don’t expect any help from Wisconsin, either. Ed Goeas, longtime adviser to Governor Scott Walker, was plain about how Walker feels about Donald Trump and a potential vice presidential nod.
“Scott Walker has a visceral negative reaction to Trump’s character.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been open and consistent with his mistrust and disgust of Donald Trump, put his own colorful spin on the possibility of being Donald Trump’s pick for vice president in
“That’s like buying a ticket on the Titanic.”
And these aren’t the only Republicans who have made their feelings toward Donald Trump known. Governor Nikki Haley, considered a rising star within the Republican Party, has made it clear that she would never consider being Trump’s running mate. Haley endorsed Marco Rubio before the Florida senator dropped out of the race, and disavowed Trump for his reluctance to publicly denounce white supremacist David Duke.
Senator Jeff Flake, who admits that the Republican nomination of Donald Trump is looking almost inevitable at this point, has also firmly expressed that he has no desire to be given a vice presidential nod from Donald Trump.
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, who would also be a strategic and logical pick for Trump’s vice president, has recently and openly criticized Trump and his angry tone, and has also made it clear that she does not want to be associated with him, according to close associates.
Although it is usually standard procedure for a politician to initially deny interest in the vice president position, if a potential running mate truly isn’t interested, this is typically signaled politely, through private channels — or, even if they are not interested, they will often submit to the actual selection process in order to boost their national profiles and help further their own careers.
So this open, public, and frequent recoiling away from Donald Trump and his campaign is unusual — and deliberate.
One difficulty Trump is facing is that, even in the ugly, brawling world of politics and presidential primaries, he has managed to rack up an uglier-than-usual record of alienating potential running mates through personal and frequent attacks. After all, it will be hard for Florida senator “little Marco Rubio” to reconcile with Trump enough to even consider being his running mate, although Trump himself has mentioned the possibility.
Several consultants to different Republican politicians say that their clients are “concerned that Mr. Trump’s unusually high unfavorable ratings with all voters and his unpopularity among women and Hispanics could doom him as a general election candidate and damage their own future political prospects if they were on his ticket,” according to the New York Times.
If Trump wins the Indiana primary, he will become the presumptive Republican nominee that he already believes himself to be, and he has already started to speculate about who he would pick to be his running mate. Trump has said that he wants “a strong political background, who was well respected on the Hill, who can help me with legislation, and who could be a great president.”
So it seems as though the question in the Donald Trump campaign is not “Who will Donald Trump tag as his running mate?” but “Who will be willing to let Donald Trump tag him or her as his potential running mate?”
Newt Gingrich has made it clear that he would join the Trump ticket. Gingrich, the former House speaker, believes that it would be his patriotic duty.
“If a potential president says I need you, it would be very hard for a patriotic citizen to say no. People can criticize a nominee, but ultimately there are very few examples of people turning down the vice presidency.”
Senator Jeff Sessions has also said he would consider joining the Trump ticket. Sessions endorsed Trump, admiring Trump’s “determination to protect American workers from reckless trade and immigration policies will grow the Republican party” and stating that Trump would position the Republican party to take the White House in November.
“Hillary Clinton has embraced a radical and extreme open borders agenda that, properly exposed, will make her un-electable, Sessions writes. Combined with Clinton’s praise for the TPP, we are in a prime position to draw millions of new Democrat voters into the Republican Party. Now is the time for the GOP to embrace this opportunity to win working Americans on a platform of rising wages, American jobs, and the national interest.”
There are two governors who are also open to a potential vice president selection. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma has indicated that she would be open to placement on Trump’s ticket and, perhaps least surprising, Governor Chris Christie has also indicated that he would be a willing vice presidential pick.
Retired neurosurgeon and failed presidential candidate Ben Carson would also be willing to run with Donald Trump.
Trump remains unconcerned with the growing number of Republican politicians who refuse to consider running with him.
“I don’t care,” Trump said. “Whether people support or endorse me or not, it makes zero influence on the voters. Historically, people don’t vote based on who is vice president. I want someone who can help me govern.”
Amid growing concerns over whether or not Trump may be mentally fit enough for the presidency, his pick for vice president may be more of a concern than normal. For more on the question of whether Donald Trump may actually have dementia, click here.
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