Yesterday was a major day in the history of the state of Indiana. In Indianapolis, Donald Trump personally met with several reported vice presidential candidates just days away from as scrutinized a Republican National Convention as we’ve ever seen. Why Indiana? Trump loves its hard-working, blue-collar people, and the state provided a therapeutically serene environment for what is one of the most crucial decisions made by any presidential campaign.
I’m kidding. He was stuck there because his plane broke. Nonetheless, the vice presidential nomination process could not be put on hold, so Trump personally vetted his four apparent finalists anyway he could. At some point in the afternoon he told Fox News’s Brett Baier, “I’m narrowing it down. I mean I’m at three, potentially four. But in my own mind, I probably am thinking about two.” That means that two of the four following people are being strung along only to have their hearts broken. With Trump set to announce his VP pick on Friday morning, let’s try and figure out who stands where.
Mike Pence, Indiana Governor
Lucky for Pence, Trump was stuck in his home state. At the governor’s mansion, Pence met not just with Trump but with his children, who may be more influential within the campaign than any of Trump’s wacky loyalists or hired guns, the latter group of which includes current campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was also reportedly present.
Trump appears to be courting Pence heavily. The two met privately at a Trump golf course in New Jersey over the July 4 weekend, and then again last weekend. Pence—a straight-laced governor who is not widely despised, and who has not been tainted by an aborted run for president—would perhaps be Trump’s most sane choice. The National Review reported recently that he would accept the nomination, which is good because I can’t fathom any other reason why you would spend two straight weekends with Donald Trump.
Is he being fucked with? Almost certainly not.
Jeff Sessions, Alabama Senator
Amidst Trump’s flurry of meetings, Sessions, per CNN, managed to swing a flight to Indianapolis from D.C. yesterday afternoon. Upon landing he cozied up to Trump at the Conrad Hotel downtown. ABC cameras caught him talking into his cell phone like a very important and busy person as he walked along what appears to be some back entryway into the hotel.
In an article published yesterday, Politico described Sessions as “Trump before Trump,” owning to Sessions’ shitty views on immigration and his votes against free trade. Sessions would be a rather on-the-nose selection, which might make him appealing to Trump, but perhaps less so to the more experienced actors floating around his campaign who may push for a candidate that softens Trump’s most inflammatory views as opposed to amplifying them.
On the other hand, “sources” told CNN that Sessions hightailed it to Indianapolis to meet with Trump “in an advisory role,” which is a nice way to make yourself sound more involved than you actually are.
Is he being fucked with? Probably.
Newt Gingrich, unemployed talking head, ex-Speaker of the House
Like Sessions, Gingrich flew to Indianapolis yesterday for a hastily arranged meeting at the Conrad Hotel with the Republican Party’s medium-rare new overlord and his family.
Reporters have been stating for weeks that Gingrich is at the top of Trump’s VP list, and those reports have only been bolstered by developments of the past 48 hours. On Tuesday, Fox News announced it had suspended its working relationship with Gingrich due to his potential for being picked as Trump’s running mate, and in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump lauded his “personal chemistry” with Gingrich. (Are they on Next?) Further, the New York Times reported yesterday that Gingrich has strong support among Trump’s familial inner circle, particularly with his son-in-law Jared Kushner:
Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump are said to feel warmly about Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker who has emerged as a leading defender of Mr. Trump.
Mr. Kushner, in particular, is said to like the type of help that Mr. Gingrich, an intellectual with a deep knowledge of the mechanics of Washington, could provide his father-in-law in navigating the Capitol, and serving almost in a prime minister-type role.
Several of Trump’s adult children — daughter Ivanka and sons Donald Jr. and Eric, along with Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner — have been privately advising their father about his choice and also favor an experienced hand, such as Gingrich or Pence, according to people close to Trump, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly.
There is a certain corroded segment of establishment wing of the GOP that would like to see Gingrich standing next to Trump at the convention next week. Perhaps it’s because with Hillary Clinton representing the Democrats, the sight of a luminary Republican from the ‘90s makes them feel warm and safe and like nothing can hurt them. That group could maybe best be represented by Sheldon Adelson—the toadish billionaire who CNN says told Trump to pick Newt—or Fox’s Sean Hannity, who managed to wedge himself into yesterday’s proceedings in a roundabout way. Via CNN:
Newt Gingrich, a finalist on Donald Trump’s vice presidential shortlist, flew to Indianapolis to meet with Trump on a private jet provided by Fox News host Sean Hannity, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
On other hand, Gingrich is old and lumpy and a party retread who easily lost the 2012 presidential nomination to Mitt Romney, who himself got bludgeoned by Barack Obama. Who exactly is being inspired by Newt Gingrich? Further, he is listed as a speaker on the third day of the convention but with a separate slot reserved for “the nominee for vice president.”
Nonetheless, the volume of reporting suggesting Trump’s interest in Gingrich probably can’t be ignored.
Is he being fucked with? Well, it would be really mean if he was being fucked with.
Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor
Pence met with Trump in his pristine mansion. Gingrich and Sessions took emergency flights to see daddy. Chris Christie, the first major felled Republican candidate to pledge fealty to Trump, uh... talked to Trump on the phone. He’s busy! Maybe it was via FaceTime?
Though Christie has been a lapdog at Trump’s feet for months, he appears to be on the outside looking in at the vice presidential nomination. Last week brought perhaps the most depressing story of the campaign season, when NJ.com reported that Christie was not going to be Trump’s pick, and further was only being vetted so that he wouldn’t look like a big ol’ chump:
The reason why Christie was asked to fill out the 100 plus pages of disclosure documents?
“They’ve been vetting him (because) it would be embarrassing not to be vetted,” the source said.
Is he being fucked with? Wouldn’t you fuck with Chris Christie?