It’s a time-honored tradition for politicians to deny any interest in the vice presidency. But this year, with the possibility of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, they really mean it.
“Never,” said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who is still running against Trump. “No chance.”
“Hahahahahahahahaha,” wrote Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Jeb Bush, when asked if he would consider it.
“Scott Walker has a visceral negative reaction to Trump’s character,” said Ed Goeas, a longtime adviser to the Wisconsin governor.
Or, as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it, “That’s like buying a ticket on the Titanic.”
A remarkable range of leading Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, have been emphatic publicly or with their advisers and allies that they do not want to be considered as Trump’s running mate.
Still, elected officials do have a way of coming around to the vice presidency, and Trump said in an interview Saturday that he was in the early stages of mending fences and building deeper relationships with leading Republicans. And in a sign of growing acceptance that Trump is their likely nominee, several Republicans made it clear they would join him on the ticket because they think he can win, or because they regard the call to serve as their duty.
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, said in interviews that they would consider joining the ticket if Trump offered. Two governors, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, have also told allies that they were open to being Trump’s running mate.
“If a potential president says I need you, it would be very hard for a patriotic citizen to say no,” Gingrich said.
Asked if he was surprised about the array of Republicans who are uncomfortable being his running mate, Trump said: “I don’t care. Whether people support or endorse me or not, it makes zero influence on the voters. Historically, people don’t vote based on who is vice president. I want someone who can help me govern.”