WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump’s vice presidential short list is heavy with Washington insiders who could help usher a President Trump’s agenda through the jungle of Congress.
He has narrowed it to a handful of contenders fewer than two weeks before the GOP is expected to nominate him for president.
But who would be Trump’s running mate is also a question of who would take the job in light of many Republicans’ ambivalence about his candidacy. Many establishment types in the party are skipping the GOP convention.
Here’s a look at some of the men and women he has met and is said to be considering:
FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
Trump has long said that he’s looking for an experienced insider with enough knowledge of Congress to push his agenda. If that’s what he wants, there’s arguably no one more qualified than the former speaker of the House of Representatives who engineered a “Republican revolution” on Capitol Hill in the 1990s.
Newt Gingrich, who launched a run for president four years ago, has become an informal Trump adviser and brings a wealth of policy ideas to the table along with deep connections.
But he’s also made clear that he’s not afraid of criticizing Trump publicly — something Trump does not typically embrace.
Concerns, however, abound: Some Trump allies also worry that Gingrich’s presence on the ticket would turn the race into a re-enactment of his 90s-era battles with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Gingrich was speaker during Bill Clinton’s presidency and was one of the leading advocates for Clinton’s impeachment.
Another question: How would the two mercurial personalities not used to partnerships share the spotlight?
The pair has been married six times combined.
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE:
In the months since his surprise endorsement, the New Jersey governor has become one of Trump’s closest confidantes, offering advice during crises and appearing by Trump’s side at public events and fundraisers. Christie is also one of his party’s most effective attack dogs and a talented retail campaigner, and has proven to be a crowd-pleaser on the trail.
The two have also been friends for more than a decade.
But a Christie selection would also come with considerable baggage.
The George Washington Bridge scandal has recently re-emerged with questions over what happened to the cellphone Christie used during the aftermath of the controversy and the potential release of a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the case.
Two former Christie allies were indicted last year for allegedly closing access lanes to the bridge in September 2013 to punish a local Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie, a Republican. The criminal trial involving former Christie aides is scheduled to begin in September — at what would be the height of the presidential contest.
Christie’s poll numbers have slumped in New Jersey, and the state’s economic woes could become an issue on the trail.
TENNESSEE SEN. BOB CORKER:
Currently the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker would bring serious foreign policy chops to a Trump ticket. He spent the day with Trump on Tuesday and appeared with him at a rally in North Carolina, where he briefly showered Trump with praise.
Corker, standing a foot shorter than the candidate, said he’d had “a pretty remarkable day” with Trump and his grown children, calling the experience an “incredible privilege.” Trump returned the favor, calling Corker “a great friend” and “somebody respected by everybody.” The pair hugged before Corker left the stage.
Corker was one of the highest-profile Republicans to praise a major foreign policy speech Trump delivered this spring. But he has also not shied away from criticizing the billionaire businessman, including over Trump’s attacks against a Hispanic judge. Corker also is a prominent former businessman and shares Trump’s background in the construction and real estate industries.
A few years ago, Corker wondered aloud whether the gridlocked Senate was worth a grown man’s time and considered retiring. But after the 2014 elections, he was named chairman of the vaunted committee. As such, Corker has a leadership role on the weightiest question to face members of Congress: whether to authorize war.