We’re probably about two months away from learning who Donald Trump will choose as his running mate, but the presumptive Republican presidential nominee hasn’t been especially subtle about one senator he’s had his eye on.
A month ago, for example, Trump told USA Today, “There are people I have in mind in terms of vice president. I just haven’t told anybody names…. I do like Marco [Rubio].” Last week on Fox News, the GOP candidate said he’s gotten along “very well” with the Florida senator, adding, “I would certainly consider him” for the vice presidential nomination.
A few days later, again on Fox, Trump said of Rubio, “We’ve had really nice conversations,” adding, “Marco’s a good guy, a really nice guy, and I like him.” He concluded that he and Rubio have always had a “really good relationship.”
In case anyone’s forgotten, during the primaries, Rubio referred to Trump as a “lunatic” and a “con man.” The Florida senator also told audiences that Trump might urinate on himself, mocked Trump’s hair and face, and even made vulgar jokes about Trump’s genitals.
But other than that, they’ve gotten along swimmingly.
Regardless, Trump may be eager to consider Rubio as a running mate, but the affection appears to be a one-way street. The senator released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“While Republican voters have chosen Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee, my previously stated reservations about his campaign and concerns with many of his policies remain unchanged. He will be best served by a running mate and by surrogates who fully embrace his campaign. As such, I have never sought, will not seek and do not want to be considered for Vice President.“Instead, I will focus my attention on representing the people of Florida, retaining a conservative majority in the Senate and electing principled conservatives across the country.”
If there’s any wiggle room in that statement, I don’t see it.
Sure, there’s a long-standing tradition about potential VP candidates feigning disinterest and playing coy, but once potential running mates start using language like “will not seek and do not want to be considered,” they’re not just playing hard to get.
For Trump, it’s a timely reminder that when it comes to the process of choosing a running mate, he has quite a bit of power, but not quite all of the power. The presumptive GOP nominee may see a party full of choices, but he also has to contend with the fact that many Republicans would prefer to have nothing to do with him.
And Marco Rubio is clearly a member of this group.