Ex Campaign Aide: Trump Wanted Ivanka as VP

Rick Gates says Trump floated idea of his daughter as running mate before picking Pence
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
Ex Campaign Aide: Trump Wanted Ivanka as VP
Ivanka Trump waves as President Trump announces her at a campaign rally on Tuesday in Moon Township, Pa.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Rick Gates, a key Trump campaign adviser in the run-up to the 2016 election, has a book coming out next month, and in it he makes a claim that, if true and if it had come to fruition, would've meant we'd be saying "Vice President Ivanka Trump" today. That's because Donald Trump mulled having his oldest daughter as his running mate, Gates writes in Wicked Game: An Insider's Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed and America Lost, per Bloomberg, which saw an advance copy. Gates details a June 2016 meeting in which Trump weighed in with the surprise idea. "I think it should be Ivanka," Trump reportedly said. "What about Ivanka as my VP?" Although Ivanka Trump, who was then 34 and had never been elected to office, "looked surprised," Trump continued: "She's bright, she's smart, she's beautiful, and the people would love her!"

Gates notes that the room got quiet after Trump's suggestion, and that the candidate repeatedly brought up the idea over the next few weeks. Ivanka Trump herself eventually quashed it, and her father settled on Mike Pence, writes Gates, who didn't view Trump's idea as a possible nepotism play, but rather as a sign of "Trump's commitment to family, loyalty, and ensuring those around him support his agenda and not their own," per the Washington Post. Gates—who was convicted last year for tax and lobbying crimes tied to his consulting work in Ukraine—writes that Condoleezza Rice and then-Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker were also under consideration for the VP slot, but both took themselves out of the running. No word yet from Trump or the White House on the veracity of Gates' claims. (More Ivanka Trump stories.)

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