Donald Trump may be zeroing in on his running mate: Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Via Fox 16:
In an interview today with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, the host suggested Trump pick either Senator Cotton or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as his running mate.
Trump said he can’t reveal his thinking in considering his VEEP pick, but had positive things to say about Arkansas’ junior senator.
“I’ve gotten very good, you know, very good statements from Senator Cotton, who is a, you know, who I know, whose parents I know and met,” Trump said. “I think that he is a very talented guy. He’s also very popular. He’s a very popular person. So these are two names that I have high on the list for something at least, that I can tell you.”
Hewitt cited Cotton’s military experience as an asset to Trump’s campaign.
This would be a really interesting pick (if it’s true), and could be seen as an olive branch to the neoconservative wing of the GOP because Cotton is tight with Bill Kristol (even though Trump is far from a noninterventionist). It should be noted Cotton is denying being contacted by Trump’s campaign, telling IJ Review they’ve barely spoken.
But Cotton is not counting on being Trump’s running mate selection. In an interview with Independent Journal Review on Wednesday, Cotton said:
“I have no reason to think that Donald Trump is gonna ask me to do that and I’m not being vetted.”
Cotton also said that his contact with the Trump campaign has been sparse.
“We’ve certainly heard from the Trump campaign before and I’ve talked to Donald Trump. He was here in Washington for the AIPAC conference and I and some others met with him. But I wouldn’t say that it’s something that’s not regular or routine.”
It’s completely possible Trump just wants Cotton to be his Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State, which wouldn’t be surprising either. But Trump’s kind words towards Cotton should be a wake up to the so-called “libertarians for Trump” movement. Cotton is the same guy who said the U.S. has an “under-incarceration problem,” and isn’t in favor of justice reform (which libertarians are supposed to be for). He also supports the Patriot Act and NSA spying (something libertarian are against) and believes not getting involved in Syria is a failure of U.S. foreign policy. Cotton is a critic of Vladimir Putin (which is good), but that may be more along the lines of, “no, we’re the real superpower!”
There are plenty of Trump supporters who probably believe this is coalition building, but it seems odd to consider “Super NeoCon” as VP because of Trump’s pledge to not want to get involved in foreign conflicts. Maybe Trump is hoping neoconservatives will come around to him because “yay, nationalism.” Trump has shown support for NSA spying, and other big government policies, so his liking of Cotton isn’t surprising. They’d probably be a good match too, but the “libertarians for Trump” crowd is really going to have to reconsider their support if it’s an “all interventionist” ticket.