Politics

Trump speaks on VP hopefuls: Vance's facial hair, Rubio's Florida residency, Burgum's abortion stance

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — With just days until former President Donald Trump is expected to reveal his vice presidential pick, on Wednesday he commented on the characteristics he likes about each candidate on his shortlist — while also highlighting some potential challenges.

Trump joined Fox News radio host Brian Kilmeade on his podcast on Wednesday morning where he discussed an array of topics including his thoughts on his top vice presidential contenders.

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are considered to be the contenders to be Trump’s running mate, though advisers have repeatedly cautioned that Trump has discussed other options and they have denied knowing who his final pick will be.

After dispatches circulated about Trump’s reported disdain for facial hair, which campaign advisers poked fun at, Trump dismissed the idea that Vance’s facial hair would complicate his chances of earning the No. 2 spot.

“No,” Trump said laughing about the idea he had a problem with Vance’s appearance. “He looks like a young Abraham Lincoln,” he quipped.

Trump, however, did reveal that there were certain complications regarding Rubio and Burgum that are factoring into his decision-making process.

On Rubio, Trump acknowledged that it would be “complicated” picking him because they were from the same state, while saying it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was out of the running.

“​​No, but it does make it more complicated … There are people that don’t have that complication,” Trump said of the Florida senator, who introduced him at his rally in Doral, Florida Tuesday night.

Trump was referring to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution that states that presidential and vice presidential candidates running on the same ticket “shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves,” which would be applicable to Trump and Rubio, who reside in Palm Beach and Miami, respectively.

This means that if Trump selected Rubio as his running mate, the 30 crucial electors from Florida could not vote for both Trump and Rubio, while electors from other 49 states could.

On the podcast, Trump said ​​the issue can be “fairly easily fixed,” but noted “it’s not like picking some people, where it’s very easy” and added that forgoing delegates from Florida would be “very risky.”

During an interview with NBC News’ Miami station Tuesday night, Trump suggested if Rubio isn’t picked as his vice president, “he certainly will” play a role in his possible second administration.

For Burgum, abortion has become an issue of focus as Trump weighs his decision. The North Dakota governor has backed one of the strictest laws in the country — signing a six-week state abortion ban last April. Trump indicated his signature could be a “little bit” of an issue as he moves forward with his selection.

“Well, it’s a little bit of an issue. It’s a pretty strong ban. You know, I think Doug is great, but it is a strong ban. He’s taken a very strong stance. Or the state has, I don’t know if it’s Doug, but the state has, so it’s an issue,” Trump said.

Campaign advisers have claimed Trump’s announcement will be known before the start of the Republican National Convention, which begins on Monday in Milwaukee. Though Trump has said he would much rather build suspense and wait until convention week.

“No, not tomorrow, I’ll make it close to the convention,” said Trump to Kilmeade when asked if he would reveal his pick on Thursday. “I would love to do it, the, you know, it used to be picked during the convention … it made the convention, frankly, more interesting”

One factor not in play, claimed Trump, was the consideration of a last-minute Democratic ticket switch up.

“I don’t think it does,” said Trump when asked if he was considering another candidate due to the fact that Vice President Kamala Harris might not be the vice presidential nominee — instead the presidential nominee — should Biden choose to step aside.

“Whether we plan for him or anyone else, the planning, I think it’s the same,” he added, projecting confidence regardless of the Democratic ticket.

“I think I’m pretty well set in my own mind, but you know, you got some good people, and I have changed a little bit, but you have, they’re all great — anyone would be fantastic.”

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