If you’re going to put someone who’s past their prime on the ticket because they really sound like they know what they’re talking about, Condi’s a better pick than Newt is. Or she would be if not for the fact that … Trump has invested lots of energy in trying to convince people that he despised the Iraq war from the start. He spent lots of time in the primaries promoting the idea that the Bushes are losers and that his new, Trumpified GOP will win again. He’s built a nationalist, somewhat (but not entirely) isolationist brand that wouldn’t easily accommodate a former top diplomat for a neoconservative president.
And purely as a matter of, shall we say, “optics,” the alt-right elements of his base would hate it.
Solid odds, then, that this report is bogus. Although, Trump being Trump, who the hell knows what he’s thinking.
Scoop: Sources tell me & @eliselabottcnn team Trump reached out again to Condi Rice in last few days re running mate. She had no interest
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) July 13, 2016
Condi’s name coming up is the nuttiest development on a nutty day of veepstakes. If you believe the reports floating around, Team Trump is split three ways: The family supposedly wants Newt, Trump’s top staffers want Pence, and Trump himself is feeling in his gut that it should be Christie. But then came news that Jeff Sessions was aboard a flight today to Indiana, where Trump met with Pence and was planning to meet with Newt. Trump told the WSJ yesterday that Sessions is still in the mix — while also saying that he wants an attack dog, a “fighter skilled in hand-to-hand combat” for VP, a role not obviously suited to the low-key senator (or for Pence, really). Then, today, he told Bret Baier that he’s not looking for an attack dog. Actual quote on Fox News: “I am narrowing it down. I mean, I’m at three, potentially four. But in my own mind, I probably am thinking about two.” As of last night he supposedly had five in the mix plus two that nobody knows about.
So, hopefully that clarifies things for you.
Incidentally, Newt didn’t fly commercial today to Indiana to meet with Trump for the big season finale of “The Apprentice: VP.” He hitched a ride with a friend:
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.
The Fox News host flew the former House speaker to Indianapolis early Wednesday morning to meet with the Republican nominee as he holds late-stage meetings with his VP finalists, the sources said…
While flying Gingrich to Indianapolis may be viewed as a conflict of interest, Hannity has long argued that he is not subject to journalistic ethics because he is a pundit. He has long spoken freely and passionately about his political biases, including his admiration for Trump.
Even before seeing that story, it occurred to me that Hannity, not Newt, would actually be the perfect Trump VP. Trump’s staff wants a guy a la Pence who has conservative cred that Trump can show off to the base. Well, Hannity has that. Trump wants a guy who’ll be comfortable in front of a mic, as the VP will spend most of his time doing media. Hannity’s an old pro. Trump wants a guy who’ll be a yes-man, willing to defend anything that Trump’s brain farts out even if it directly contradicts something he said the day before. That’s pretty much Hannity’s job description already. Trump wants a guy who can be plausibly described as an “outsider” like him. That’s truer of Hannity than it is of Gingrich, Christie, or Pence, notwithstanding his decades of coziness with Republican politicians as part of the conservative media machine. If Trump’s going to let it all hang out and appoint a guy whose main duties are agreeing with everything he says and attacking Democrats relentlessly, why not choose a guy who does that for a living right now? Trump/Hannity is the ticket we deserve. Hopefully Trump thinks so too. What if, “House of Cards” fans, Hannity only thought he was chaperoning Newt to a VP tryout today when in fact Newt was really chaperoning him?
Nah, I’m just teasing. It’s going to be Newt, I’m pretty sure. He’s obviously the best fit for Trump among the three finalists and, more importantly, Sheldon Adelson wants it that way. Pro-Trump alt-righters won’t like that either but they’ll let Trump cash his checks. An extra $100 million in the Super PAC bank would help a lot if the race is close down the stretch.