Donald J. Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, told Breitbart News on Wednesday morning in an exclusive interview that he expects to make his vice presidential selection soon.
“I have tremendous people and tremendous interest,” Trump said. “We have wonderful people that we’re considering. We will make a wise choice. I’ve gotten to know some of them very well over the past week. And I’ll be deciding sometime prior to the convention.”
“Sometime at or prior to the convention,” Trump added when asked if any kind of announcement might be made in the next week or so.
Trump reiterated that the qualities he is looking for include the ability to help him navigate the minefield that is Congress to legislatively pass his agenda.
“I’m looking for somebody that can be a great vice president, can do a great job, has presidential quality and can also help legislatively and other ways so that wonderful legislation can be passed for the people,” Trump said.
Trump is holding a rally Wednesday in the all-important swing state of Ohio with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who’s currently — according to most sources — the leading potential vice presidential pick for the billionaire businessman. One source close to the process told Breitbart News that the position is seen as Gingrich’s to lose, and it’s highly more than likely that Trump selects the veteran aggressive conservative reformer as his vice president.
Gingrich just reversed his position on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in a bid to more closely align with Trump’s position on trade. His deep ties and connections inside the Republican Party–and his connections with top donors like billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson–are selling points. His ability to navigate Congress–he’s a former House Speaker who has a reputation for having gotten things done, even with a Democratic President in Bill Clinton, back in the 1990s–is also a major selling point for Trump. Gingrich’s history of battling the Clintons, while also successfully ushering through Congress into law conservative reforms like welfare reform, are also selling points. He was Speaker of the House during the most tumultuous time of the Clinton dynasty, when Bill Clinton was under investigation for his sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky, and oversaw the impeachment proceedings of Bill Clinton.
But others are still in the mix, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Trump is supposedly holding a rally in Indiana next week, and those with knowledge of the situation tell Breitbart News that the advance staff is holding nothing back—and that Trump’s entire family is expected to be there—for this Indianapolis-area rally. A key focus of Trump’s campaign both in the primary and in the general election has been trade policy, and given that Pence’s home state—which delivered Trump the final knockout blow against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich that he needed to wrap up the nomination—is ground zero on that front gives Pence a boost. Pence’s Indiana is for now home to Carrier Corporation, which Trump mentions almost every rally since its executives in an extraordinarily offensive way warned factory workers that the company was shutting down U.S. operations in 2017 to reopen in Mexico. Pence had voted for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during the primary, but did not come out against Trump, and would therefore be seen as an extra boost to party unity after a rough-and-tumble primary.
Other names that come up are Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and his U.S. Senate colleagues Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). John Thune, the GOP conference leader, also comes up in some conversations.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Trump’s highest profile allies and former opponents, is in the mix, as is Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. Other long shot potential candidates include retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn—a close adviser of Trump’s on military matters—and even other former rivals like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Others, like Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) or Ryan Zinke (R-MT)—or Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—are seen as long shot possibilities as well. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) took himself out of the running for the role on Wednesday.
Breitbart News Network is running a reader straw poll, and those interested in voting on first, second and third place choices for Trump’s running mate can visit here to cast your ballots.