8 possible VP options for Trump
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The rollout of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE's running mate could come as early as the end of this week, with less than two weeks before the GOP convention in Cleveland.

A serious major party nominee's campaign would, at this point, have completed all of the vetting and polling for each candidate on the short list and have moved on to final discussions about the choice.

Instead, it appears that Trump's vetting is not complete and that new names are now being added, with several freshed-face options meeting with Trump over the weekend.

Let's evaluate all of the options Trump appears to be considering.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.): Christie was one of Trump's first major endorsements, backing Trump at a surprise event in Dallas before the Texas primary. Christie has known Trump for more than 15 years and they have a close personal relationship. Christie is probably a better choice for attorney general, given his law enforcement and prosecution experience as a U.S. Attorney. He does bring Bridgegate baggage and the trial for two of his former aides will begin this fall. Christie's poll numbers at home in New Jersey have taken a nosedive in the past year. Christie and Trump also disagree on major policy issues, like entitlement reform and immigration. On the positive side, Christie doubles down on Trump's in-your-face style. He is a Washington outsider and would be an effective attack dog on the Democrats.


Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.): Gingrich has been a vocal Trump supporter, and while he has criticized Trump at times for a lack of discipline, he has also aligned himself with Trump on policy, even recently announcing his support for Trump's trade position (which is at odds with Gingrich passing NAFTA in the 1990s). Gingrich has many fans in Washington, but also many enemies, well-earned over the years. He cares deeply about ideas and reform, but also has many questionable comments that would come back to bite him. Like Trump, he has a messy personal life and is also currently on his third marriage. Trump has said he wants a respected Washington figure as his vice president to pass his legislative agenda, and for that reason, Gingrich would be an appealing choice. Gingrich also has a very close relationship with billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and if he could bring Adelson on board to spend lavishly on electing a Trump-Gingrich ticket through super-PAC spending, that could be significant.

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGarland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ala.): Sessions was Trump's first Senate endorsement, helping Trump win a large victory in the Alabama primary on March 1. Sessions has essentially loaned one of his top aides, Stephen Miller, to Trump's campaign, and together Sessions and Miller helped Trump develop his hardline immigration platform, which has energized many of Trump's backers like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. Sessions is a serious conservative and could help Trump on Capitol Hill. He and Trump agree on many things and have built a real partnership.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 MORE (R-Tenn.): Corker is a VP choice who would add serious foreign policy experience to the ticket. Corker is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Trump has not shown an interest in spending time learning the substance of foreign policy. Corker is also known as a Senate dealmaker, which has earned him some criticism from the right, but has also made him effective in the Senate. Corker is a businessman like Trump, but he has criticized some of Trump's most incendiary comments. He may be a better choice as Secretary of State.

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.): Pence is a rock-solid conservative who could fire up the delegates. He was once in the GOP leadership in Congress, and he understand how Washington works. His selection would be an olive branch to the right, which continues to have serious doubts about Trump's ideology. However, selecting Pence would require him to abandon a reelection bid before the state's July 15 deadline, as state law does not allow candidate to appear on state and federal ballots concurrently. This is a significant problem. Pence considered presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, but ultimately passed.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): Ernst is a first-term U.S. senator, former state senator and military veteran. She ran a brilliant Senate campaign in 2014 and has been a rising star ever since. Choosing a female candidate could help Trump with women, and Trump has a chance to win some Rust Belt states if his campaign effectively focuses on the Midwest. Is Ernst a credible choice for VP?

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (R-Ark.): Cotton is also a freshman U.S. senator after serving two years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also a military veteran, and a Harvard graduate. He is a favorite of the conservative foreign policy community. He has a bright future and has even been asked to consider a presidential bid in 2020.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.): Fallin does not have a national profile, but she is a Trump supporter and former congresswoman. She would instantly be compared to Palin as an unknown national figure whom many will say is not prepared to be president.

Ultimately, I believe Gingrich will be Trump's choice, as he brings Washington experience, conservative bona fides and loyalty. Christie is also a very real possibility.

It is simply too late for new options like Pence or Ernst to be vetted and seriously considered.

That said, only Trump will decide what he will do and he has been very unpredictable so far.

Mackowiak is syndicated columnist; an Austin, Texas-based Republican consultant; and a former Capitol Hill and George W. Bush administration aide.