Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trump's Search for Right

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Trump's Search for Right

Article excerpt

Donald Trump's long-awaited vice president announcement is getting closer, say sources, as the Republican National Convention on July 18 quickly approaches.

There are reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are at the top of the VP shortlist, currently filling out paperwork for the vetting process. Other names include Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The intense speculation around Trump's potential running mate speaks to the high salience VP picks have had in previous election years. Vice presidential picks can often serve as a unifying force for a party after a divisive contest for the nomination, a point Trump is likely considering carefully as he tries to woo establishment Republicans onto his side. The right VP candidate could help bring party leaders, Republican voters, and big donors into the Trump fold, all people the campaign desperately needs ahead of the general election.

"Even if it doesn't move the needle much, the vice presidential selection can help compensate for some of the problems and concerns that voters have about a nominee," Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, writes for CNN. "In Trump's case this is especially important given how unprecedented and unpredictable his candidacy is."

The assumed VP frontrunners, Governor Christie and former Representative Gingrich, could help Trump work the legislative aspect of the presidency.

Gingrich has the experience. During his 20 years as a Representative from Georgia, Gingrich was House minority whip for six years and speaker for four. And Christie, who was appointed as US Attorney for the District of New Jersey by President George W. Bush in 2002 before becoming governor in 2010, has been crucial to the Trump campaign, shopping around for endorsements and donations.

"[Trump] is the first to admit that he doesn't know all the ways of Washington," Robert Jeffress, a Dallas pastor who has been close with Trump during his campaign, told The Washington Post. "So to actually push what he wants through, he's willing to reach out and get somebody to lend a hand. …

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