You’re hired! Trump begins 'process of elimination' in hunt for vice president
RT: Donald Trump is starting to go through the process of elimination to find a running mate. The list is growing of those who don’t want it. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is out and so is Florida Governor Rick Scott. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wasn’t ready to support Trump. Mitt Romney will not attend the convention, and both Bush presidents 41 and 43 said they will stay out of the campaign this cycle. What is happening here, in your opinion?
Ian Walters: I think it has been a very busy week in American politics with Ted Cruz suspending his campaign, [John] Kasich following suit. That wound is still fresh with a lot of folks who have been unwilling to support Trump until this point. I would watch over the next two weeks to see if that wound stays fresh, or to see if they begin to rethink it. A lot of people have been saying that it is effectively a vote for Hillary [Clinton,] if you don’t support Trump. Is there going to be a third party movement, a Republican alternative? We’ll have to see if that is going to divide the vote.
I think Trump has a real opportunity here to bring conservatives aboard. A lot of his ideas have been conservative: immigration; he is good on the Second Amendment; lowering the income tax rate for individuals and for businesses and keeping us safe in the war on terror.
RT: Is the American Conservative Union comfortable with Trump right now?
IW: We haven’t endorsed anybody yet. But I think that we’re all united as an organization to say that we’ve spent the last 20 years wrestling with the Clinton machine, and that we’re prepared to stand up against her.
RT: Does it hurt Trump to go through a bunch of names of people who reply: 'No, I don’t want to do this?'
IW: I don’t think so. There are a lot of people that have surprisingly come out when it comes to a VP [Vice President] nominee. I think he said there is a 40 percent chance that it’ll be somebody who has worked in politics before. The opportunity with picking your number-two guy is somebody who can cover your vulnerabilities. Is that a John Kasich from Ohio, who can hopefully bring a state like Ohio, which is going to be important when we start dissecting that map? Or is it going to be somebody like Chris Christie, who was one of the first people to come out and surprisingly support the likely candidate. It is a window into the character of Trump with this election.
RT: Would your organization suggest possible running mates? You just mentioned John Kasich. We know the history of the White House and how important it is to win Ohio, and he did win it. The Democrats are nervous about him being on the ticket, because if they lose Ohio the math is a little funny then. What about that?
IW: The ACU, the American Conservative Union, would lobby for a conservative pick. [Kasich] has got a lifetime ACU rating of 88 on 100-point scale, which means that as a member of Congress he was pretty good. It is not an A+, but rather a B+. Now, the contrast is, when he was governor of Ohio, he expanded those state-based Obamacare mandates. That is not considered a conservative thing. So you really are looking at a two John Kasichs.
Which one are you going to get?
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