miércoles, 13 de julio de 2016

Trump advisers split on VP pick

Donald Trump leaves the residence of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in Indianapolis on July 13.

The presumptive nominee's inner circle raced to Indiana amid concerns he was moving away from choosing Pence.

The deliberations over who Donald Trump should pick as his running mate reached a fever pitch on Wednesday, as members of his inner circle scrambled to fly to Indiana because they were increasingly convinced Trump was leaning away from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and toward New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to a campaign source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Trump's top adviser Paul Manafort, three of Trump's adult children, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner jetted to meet him in Indiana, where the candidate had stayed overnight, in an effort to intervene as he nears finalizing his choice for a vice presidential pick.

Trump remained in Indiana due to a "technical problem" with his plane, after having met with Pence on Sunday and appearing with him at a rally on Tuesday night.

But even as media reports swirled around Trump’s VP search, the presumptive Republican nominee is keeping his options open, at least publicly, telling Fox News’ Bret Baier on Wednesday that there are multiple contenders still in the mix.

"I am narrowing it down. I mean, I’m at three, potentially four," said. "But in my own mind, I probably am thinking about two."

Privately, Trump’s closest advisers are eager to sway him. Kushner, the millionaire real estate developer who has emerged as a de facto campaign manager in recent weeks, is said to strongly oppose putting Christie on the ticket. Notably, Christie was the federal prosecutor who put Kushner's father in prison a decade ago.

Trump flirts with unpopular Pence

By Matthew Nussbaum

On Wednesday morning — the day after Trump had multiple conversations with Pence and two days after Trump had a positive meeting with Christie — Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, along with Trump and his sons, Eric and Donald Jr., gathered at Pence's residence along with Manafort for another meeting.

While Trump's advisers remain divided over who he should choose, they seem to recognize their influence is limited.

"Trump is going to pick whoever he's going to pick," said one campaign source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday to freely discuss recent campaign deliberations.

Working in Christie's favor is a personal rapport with Trump himself from a relationship that dates back more than a decade.

"They know each other," said one source close to Trump. "Compare that relationship to Pence, who Trump has interacted with five times and who endorsed Trump's rival two days before the Indiana primary that Trump won by 18 points."

Trump on Wednesday talked up Christie in his interview with Fox. "I tell you Chris Christie is somebody I have liked for a long time," Trump told Baier. "He is a total professional. He’s a good guy, by the way. A lot of people don’t understand that."

But he also had highly complimentary words for Pence. When Baier asked about the morning meeting with his kids and the Indiana governor, Trump said, "It went really well. High quality person, wonderful guy. He's always been very respectful to me and really appreciate, you know, I think appreciates what I've done politically. And we had a great meeting."

If Pence is the pick, it will come as a relief to Manafort, who is pushing hard for him. According to multiple sources, Manafort has long been opposed to selecting Newt Gingrich to the ticket (and to a lesser extent Christie), believing that the loquacious former speaker would be undisciplined and difficult to manage.

Kushner would prefer Gingrich, according to multiple sources involved in campaign deliberations. That's at least in part driven by his relationship with GOP mega-donor and Republican Jewish Coalition founder Sheldon Adelson, who is pushing Gingrich, as well as his own antipathy toward Christie.

Trump advisers split on VP pick

By Eli Stokols and Nolan D. McCaskill

Gingrich and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, at this point a long shot to be added to the ticket but a trusted friend and adviser to Trump, are also meeting with Trump in Indiana on Wednesday. Trump himself was also expected to speak with Christie by phone Wednesday.

On a phone call with Manafort on Tuesday, pollster Tony Fabrizio, armed with new data showing Trump and Hillary Clinton statistically tied in Florida and Virginia, reportedly expressed his belief that retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a registered Democrat also on Trump's short list, would be a smart choice because of his potential general election appeal to independent voters and those for whom national security is a top consideration, according to a source familiar with the conversation. Fabrizio later disputed that account in an email.

Flynn's stock, however, seems to have fallen, since his interview Sunday morning in which he expressed his pro-choice stance on abortion.

Trump is focused on making a final decision Wednesday ahead of a fundraising swing to southern California on Thursday. Manafort told reporters in Cleveland that Trump will make a formal announcement of his VP choice at an event Friday in New York. Timing is also of the essence for Pence, who cannot run for reelection and vice president simultaneously and thus faces a noon deadline Friday to withdraw from the gubernatorial election ballot.

Pence spoke briefly at a Westfield, Indiana, rally Tuesday evening and attended a fundraiser with the billionaire businessman earlier in the day. Trump praised Pence, calling him a “good man,” and teased him as his running mate to the Indiana crowd Tuesday.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be your governor or your vice president,” Trump said. “Who the hell knows?”

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