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Trump considered daughter Ivanka as 2016 running mate, book says

By Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

As he contemplated running mates in 2016, Gates writes, Trump was open to the possibility of adding former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or then-Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee to the ticket. Both took themselves out of consideration, Gates writes.

Another potential VP choice, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, "drew harsh comparisons to Sarah Palin" because of her inexperience, Gates writes. And Trump derided another possibility, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, as "Mr. Magoo," Gates says. Sessions went on to be Trump's first attorney general.

Manafort then "subtly pushed once more for someone who could bring balance to the ticket, like Pence," Gates writes.

"But Trump said, 'Look, I don't like any of these people,'" Gates writes. "Once again, he said, 'I think it should be Ivanka.'"

Trump continued to bring up the idea over the next few weeks, which signaled to his advisers "just how serious he was about putting his politically inexperienced daughter just a heartbeat from the presidency," Gates writes.

Manafort twice tested voters' opinions of Ivanka Trump by placing her name next to a dozen potential vice presidential candidates in internal campaign polls, Gates writes. "She didn't poll tremendously high, but higher than we expected, and that only added to the seriousness of her consideration."

In early July 2016, according to Gates, "Trump still seemed cool to Pence," and "the Ivanka idea started to catch some momentum. People on the team argued that Ivanka brought a balance to her father. 'She's more moderate.' 'She could help with independents!'"

But Ivanka Trump pulled herself out of the running, Gates writes. "She went to her father and said, 'No, Dad. It's not a good idea.' And he capitulated."

The book says Ivanka Trump and Kushner were fond of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a running mate.

 

"But Trump had already told us, privately, that he thought 'there was something wrong and off' with Newt," Gates writes. "He would constantly hit Trump with a barrage of policy ideas, and Trump did not have the appetite or patience to deal with him."

Trump agreed with advisers that the fallout from Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" scandal "and Christie's own media-hungry presidential ambitions" ruled him out for the job, Gates writes.

And so there was almost no one left on the vice presidential short list when Trump flew to Indiana on July 12, the book says.

Trump and Pence had a "cordial" meeting, but Trump wasn't sold, Gates writes. Trump had early called Pence "a loser" because he'd endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries and was struggling in his own gubernatorial re-election contest, Gates writes.

Then Gates got a phone call from campaign aide John McEntee, who said there was a mechanical issue with Trump's plane. Stranded overnight in Indiana, Trump had breakfast with Pence, and was impressed with the governor's assertive side when he verbally ripped into Hillary Clinton, Gates writes.

Trump tweeted on July 15 that Pence was his choice.

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