Veepstakes verve: Contenders create media boomlets with leaks and manipulation

The leak-fueled orchestration by Republicans who are either openly or quietly running for vice president is a classic cabaret of media and political intrigue.Virtually every significant name on the mythical “short list” – which essentially exists in Donald Trump’s head – has undergone a boomlet in the press, fed by the potential veep or by surrogates.The Trump campaign is bemused by the spectacle, and happy to let the auditions play out. Indeed, in some cases Trump wants these tryouts. They range from joint speaking appearances to network interviews to showing up at the hush money trial to defend the indicted former president (for just about anyone who seeks the prize).FOX NEWS INVITES TRUMP, BIDEN CAMPAIGNS TO VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEJournalists, meanwhile, have nothing else to cover (other than indulging in six weeks of speculation until the first debate). So they have created the closest thing to a horse race and are susceptible to whispers about the ostensible fluctuations among the aspirants.The leaks aren’t coming from the Trump team. Its members are well aware that different strategists and allies are promoting certain names. But they don’t really care what the motivation is as long as they fight for Trump.The former president’s camp believes everyone is getting along, as opposed to cutting each other down, producing a team spirit. The outlook is that many of those that don’t get the nod will wind up with Cabinet posts or other administration jobs.TIM SCOTT: THE MEDIA IS NOT SHOWING THE TRUTH OF WHO BIDEN HAS ALWAYS BEENTim Scott has been publicly seeking the nomination since his own presidential campaign quickly imploded. But Trump has sounded dismissive, saying the Senate’s only black Republican does a better job advocating for him than for himself but is a “high-quality person.” He’s accusing Joe Biden of pandering to blacks, but his mild-mannered approach may be a detriment. Still, the senator is included near the top of every media list.Doug Burgum is the obscure North Dakota governor and tech entrepreneur whose presidential campaign vanished without a trace. But wait – here comes word that Trump likes him!Washington Post: “Trump’s allies have discussed Burgum as a potential vice-presidential candidate, even as they caution that the list remains long.”Wall Street Journal: “Rich, Loyal and Good Looking: Why Little-Known Doug Burgum Is in Trump’s VP Mix.”Yahoo: “Doug Burgum has emerged unexpectedly as a top choice to serve as former President Trump’s running mate.”NORTH DAKOTA GOV, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DOUG BURGUM FRONT AND CENTER AT TRUMP NEW JERSEY RALLYMarco Rubio, who lost to Trump in 2016, got his moment after doing well at a donor event.NBC: “Sen. Marco Rubio is moving up the list of former President Donald Trump’s potential vice presidential picks, according to six people familiar with the presumptive Republican nominee’s search for a running mate.”Financial Times: “Marco Rubio has emerged as a favorite of donors to become Donald Trump’s running mate, as the former president looks for candidates who can widen his appeal and help fund his White House campaign and legal bills.”A major complication: The Constitution bars running mates from being from the same state. But the Florida senator has suggested he’d move out of state.J.D. Vance, the Ohio senator drew major media notice when he went to the Trump trial last week and denounced chief accuser Michael Cohen.The Hill: “Vance Challenges Scott for Top Spot on Trump VP Shortlist.”New York Times: “J.D. Vance, in the Mix to Be Trump’s Running Mate, Denounces Witness.”Washington Post: “J.D. Vance, from Never Trumper to Running Mate Contender.”But when Vance was just an author, in 2016, he warned Christian voters about Trump, “When we apologize for this man, Lord help us.”JD VANCE SLAMS NY V. TRUMP TRIAL AS DEM EFFORT TO DISTRACT THAT THE ‘WORLD IS ON FIRE’ UNDER BIDENTrump has noted that Vance once “said some bad s*** about me.” But he has been known to forgive past critics, such as Ted Cruz and the man he once dubbed “Little Marco.”The height of absurdity came when Axios reported that Nikki Haley, who has not endorsed Trump two months after dropping out as his last opponent, was under active consideration as his running mate.The next day came a Truth Social post: “Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!”That lasted long.The Sunday shows this week became a prime battleground for those either competing in the veepstakes or imagining they are contenders.Elise Stefanik was on “Fox News Sunday,” where host Shannon Bream asked about her saying in a 2015 radio interview that Trump was “insulting to women.”STEFANIK DEFENDS SPEECH AT ISRAEL’S KNESSET TORCHING BIDEN, DEMOCRATS: ‘EQUIVOCATION AFTER EQUIVOCATION'”It’s a disgrace that you would quote The New York Times with nameless, faceless false sources,” the congresswoman shot back.Bream pressed again as things got heated: Did she say those words or not?”I said the statement that the Democrats leaked out in 2016, that that was insulting,” Stefanik said, stressing that she backed Trump in that election.Vance was on “Face the Nation,” where he made the obligatory statement, as they all do, that Trump hasn’t discussed the veepship with him. “It’s all about getting him elected president. I actually don’t care that much who the vice president is because Trump’s ultimately going to govern,” Vance said.Rubio had a heated, high-decibel interview on “Meet the Press,” where host Kristen Welker asked: “Will you accept the election results of 2024, no matter what happens, Senator?””No matter what happens? No. If it’s an unfair election, I think it’s going to be contested by either side.”MARCO RUBIO SPARS WITH NBC HOST OVER 2024 ELECTION: DEMOCRATS HAVE ‘OPPOSED EVERY REPUBLICAN VICTORY’When Walker pointed out that the senator had voted to certify the 2020 election, the senator reeled off some unsubstantiated claims: “I think what undermines people’s confidence in the election is when you have places like Wisconsin with over 500 illegal dropbox locations, when you have places like Georgia where liberal groups are [paying] people, $10 a per vote. You couldn’t even talk about it on social media. They would deplatform you.”Rubio said the Democrats have “opposed every Republican victory since 2000,” Welker said those candidates, including Hillary Clinton, conceded the elections. Which brings us to Ben Carson. He’s been virtually invisible since Trump left office, but NBC reported a few days ago that the former HUD secretary “has emerged as a strong option,” while keeping his distance from the spectacle. Carson suddenly showed up on “State of the Union.”emerged as a strong option.In an extraordinarily low-key performance, Carson said that “President Trump does not like to surround himself with ‘yes’ people,” adding that he agrees abortion should be decided by the states.Carson said there had been no running mate discussions but that he would “love to” debate Kamala Harris.Now Trump would not be the first presidential nominee to allow an unrealistic name to be floated to flatter that person or please a constituency group. And it doesn’t take much to get the press to bite.SUBSCRIBE TO HOWIE’S MEDIA BUZZMETER PODCAST, A RIFF ON THE DAY’S HOTTEST STORIESThis whole thing is starting to resemble an “Apprentice” contest.But since Trump has made clear he won’t make an announcement until just before the convention – why ruin the suspense? – this won’t be decided for two more months.One other factor: Does Trump pick a running mate who won’t be a candidate in four years, and therefore poses no risk of upstaging him? Or does he pick someone who immediately starts running to succeed him?One thing is clear: As Trump has told me and others, the pick ultimately doesn’t matter because people don’t vote for vice president, it’s all about the top of the ticket.
Go to Source

Scroll to Top