Trump: No, I'm not going to pick a Democrat as a running mate

Does this mean Donald Trump will leave Ben Carson off the veepstakes list too? After all, Carson — who has acted as a Trump surrogate since leaving the Republican primary fight — floated this bon mot just as the presumptive nominee began making his pitch for party unity. Trump insisted this morning that he didn’t mean interparty unity (via Free Beacon’s Alyssa Canobbio):

Co-host Pete Hegseth asked Trump the question after surrogate Dr. Ben Carson said that Trump was considering the possibility.

“I would rule him out. Or her out,” Trump said. “I want to have, we want to have a great ticket. The Democrats have been there for a long time, the economy is terrible. The real unemployment rate is probably 20 percent. It could even be higher than that. It’s a disaster. Jobs are leaving, you look at Carrier, you look at so many companies they’re leaving. No, I’m going to pick a great Republican and we’re going to have a tremendous victory. We’re going to win.”

Trump said that he would not disclose who he was considering because he did not want to embarrass them. He took the time to say those who have come out publicly to say that they have turned down the vice presidency were not actually being considered.

Of course they weren’t, although some of them should have been on the short list — perhaps especially Nikki Haley, who might have helped bridge the enormous gap Trump has at the moment with women. The Hill notes that Trump has a couple of other options in its list of the top 10 contenders for the running-mate slot, including fellow two-term governor Susana Martinez and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, perhaps a surprise contender. (Why not Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers?) Most of the rest are obvious choices, although The Hill may also be trolling #NeverTrump by including retired Marine Corps General James Mattis — a name that has been floated as a potential independent alternative to Trump.

Speaking of rankings, Hot Air readers took part in a Survey Monkey reader poll this week about Trump’s veepstakes decision. We received 2,688 responses, and some very interesting results. First, the plurality of respondents are solid Trump supporters (32.9%), and another 21.4% are “somewhat supportive” of Trump, forming a majority of 54.3%. Only 16.5% were Team #NeverTrump, while 23.4% were, as my colleague Allahpundit puts it, #SkepticalofTrump. That puts the Trump opposition at roughly 40%, with just over 5% non-committal about his nomination.

The choice of running mate will only impact 21.5% of his supporters. Among these voters, the top five candidates for running mate are:

Trump-support-vp

It’s a bit surprising to see Marco Rubio in fourth place while Jeff Sessions and Ben Carson finish seventh and eighth respectively. Ted Cruz’ third-place finish might have more to do with party unity at the convention. The biggest surprise is seeing Newt Gingrich come in first, and Susana Martinez in second. Haley had already thrown cold water on this before many of the respondents took the poll, so that might account for Martinez’ high finish. Gingrich has defended Trump for weeks, but he’s 72 years old and nearly two decades out from the last time he won a general election. The one-heartbeat-away issue didn’t appear to worry too many people.

What about the Trump opposition? More of them seem open to a running-mate choice changing their minds, although 60.7% said it was unlikely. Just under 29% said “maybe,” with another 9.7% choosing “probably” or “definitely” would change minds about Trump. Their rankings of the candidates was:

Trump-opposition-vp

Gingrich drops to sixth, Martinez and Cruz stay in second and third, while Haley jumps to the top of the list. If Trump wants to unite the party, maybe he should double-check with Haley before moving to another candidate. Scott Walker didn’t fare well in either grouping. Overall, the order among all respondents was Martinez, Gingrich, Haley, Cruz, and Rubio.

Addendum: I interviewed Pete earlier today about his new book In the Arena; if you missed it, be sure to check it out.