Calm, conservative, confident: what GOP senators want in Trump’s vice presidential pick

WASHINGTON – Republican members of the U.S. Senate, seeking to take over their chamber in the November election, have a wish list of what they would like to see in Donald Trump’s running mate.

“A little calmer” than Trump. Confident. Conservative. Military experience. Good relations with senators. Ready to take over as CEO if needed, they said in interviews with States Newsroom.

Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, is holding off on revealing his choice. But he dropped tantalizing compliments about several of the shortlisted candidates as he continued to make headlines ahead of next month’s Republican National Convention.

So far, Trump has not named a clear front-runner, leading to ongoing speculation about what qualities he will look for in his replacement this time around, the person who will co-lead the GOP ticket with him in an issue that will likely close the election.

In 2016, Trump selected Indiana’s Mike Pence, in part to influence evangelical Christians who were skeptical of Trump’s moral character.

Trump is seeking a second term as a convicted felon found guilty in New York of 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a secret payment of money to an adult film star before the 2016 election. He also faces federal charges for trying to overturn the 2020 election results and ostracizing Pence after his former vice president refused to participate.

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But that hasn’t diminished the number of GOP legislators and former presidential candidates jostling to join his candidacy.

Trump’s list of vice presidential candidates reportedly includes North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, Florida U.S. Republican Byron Donalds, former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former GOP president full hope Vivek Ramaswamy, U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from South Carolina Tim Scott, U.S. Representative from New York Elise Stefanik and U.S. Senator from Ohio J.D. Vance.

Republican senators, including some who are likely in the running to become the veep candidate, met with Trump June 13 to develop campaign strategy and show unity.

asset he told NBC News on Saturday, his choice will “most likely” come during Thursday’s debate with President Joe Biden in Atlanta.

Trust and coalition

Several Republican senators interviewed by States Newsroom offered suggestions on what qualities might be most helpful to Trump as vice president in a potential second term.

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she hopes to elect a vice president who can provide confidence and a broader coalition in the Republican Party.

“I think you need someone who has extensive knowledge, not just domestic but international, (you want) decisiveness and someone who has the leadership to actually take the reins of the presidency, someone who has conservative principles on the Republican side and is a proven leader.” Capito said.

“I imagine with President Trump it will be someone who will attract a broader electorate to him,” Capito said, adding “and probably a little bit calmer than he is.”

“Good relationships across the spectrum.”

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said Trump “would benefit from someone who, under the right circumstances, provides a lot of positive feedback in support of the president’s agenda.”

The former and possibly future president would also benefit from a pick who is “well-studied on the issue,” and if it’s a senator, “someone with good relationships across the board would be helpful,” Tillis said.

“We’ll probably have a slim margin, so if you think about someone who has a history of relationships with House members, good relationships with the Republican conference. That means we’re going to have challenging votes,” Tillis said.

For example, Congress will face a huge fight over the tax code next year as several provisions of the 2017 Republican tax bill are set to expire. Tillis recalled that the 2017 internal Republican Party debate “was not a piece of cake.”

“We had to work to get Republican support,” Tillis said. “So having someone who naturally has that chemistry, you know, whether you’ve worked on legislation or just have a good relationship. If I were President Trump, this would be a key factor.”

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Congress will also have to address the debt ceiling issue next year, a debate that carries significant economic consequences, both at home and around the world.

Period in the army

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst – a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard – said she would “like to meet with someone who has a background in foreign relations or military policy.”

“I think it would be crucial to have someone young and enthusiastic who would also be able to fill the role of our next president,” Ernst said.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said Trump may want to choose someone voters feel confident can follow him as leader of the Republican Party.

“I’m not sure vice presidential candidates have much influence on how people vote,” Moran said. “But I would say this might be the year it matters – (given) the age of the candidates. So who can track is probably of interest to people. “I would say the best qualification is someone who would make a great president.”

Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, who is likely to become his state’s next governor, said Trump needs someone who thinks like him politically, so they don’t differ on policy issues, and also someone who is willing to be president if needed. .

“I think someone will definitely have to be on the same wavelength when it comes to political issues, obviously,” Braun said. “I think I heard him say he needed someone ready to step into that role if needed. I think it always emphasizes the loyalty factor.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, asked for his opinion on Trump’s vice presidential shortlist, replied: “I haven’t seen anyone on that list that I object to.”

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said he wouldn’t comment on specific candidates, but added that “all the names I’ve heard seem to be good people.”

“But what matters is what President Trump thinks, and I have no idea who he will choose,” Kennedy said.

Senator sitting

Republican senators who spoke to States Newsroom seemed largely unfazed by the possibility of choosing a vice president from among their ranks — even if it would cut into the very slim majority in the Senate in January.

Capito said she thinks most Republicans will likely remain sheltered even if Trump chooses one of her colleagues as his running mate.

“I think the ones he’s talking about come from pretty red states, but you know, you’re always worried about that,” Capito said. “But I think it would be great if our colleague who was in the Senate with me became our vice president.”

Braun said Trump might consider polling several key Senate candidates before selecting his nominee.

“I think that could be a consideration,” Braun said. “You take that risk off the table.”

When asked whether the Senate vice president’s choice could weaken or upset the GOP majority, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said: “I’m sure Trump will take that into consideration.”

Tillis said he was not concerned that Trump’s choice for vice president would threaten the Republican majority in the Senate, and speculated that Trump might even withdraw from the upper chamber when choosing his cabinet if elected.

“I don’t think the exchange protocol makes it a major issue,” Tillis said.

Grassley echoed Tillis’ words. “Are we talking about Ohio, Florida, South Carolina? That’s all. “I don’t think you need to worry about that,” he said.

Forty-five states to require according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the governor nominates a person to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat, and 37 of those states fill the vacancy with a chosen nominee until the next statewide election.

The remaining states – Kentucky, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin – require Senate vacancies to be filled through special elections.

All of Trump’s Senate electors come from states with Republican governors.

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