Donald Trump met with Senator Joni Ernst today, fueling speculation that she could be a front-runner to be Trump’s running mate. Possibly so. But more interesting to me was Senator Tom Cotton’s appearance yesterday on Meet the Press, and Trump’s reaction to it.
Tom did an excellent job, as usual, discussing foreign policy and the Obama administration’s failures. Chuck Todd then floated the idea that Cotton’s foreign policy views are the “exact opposite” of Trump’s, and that he seems much closer to Hillary Clinton. Cotton explained that his views are nothing like Hillary’s, which led Todd to urge the senator to make the case not just against Hillary Clinton, but in favor of Donald Trump. In the ensuing exchange, Todd noted that Cotton doesn’t come across as an enthusiastic Trump supporter, an observation that Tom didn’t really deny. Here is the seven-minute video:
What is interesting about all of this is Trump’s reaction. He tweeted:
Senator Tom Cotton was great on Meet the Press yesterday. Despite a totally one-sided interview by Chuck Todd, the end result was solid!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2016
I find it revealing that Trump went out of his way to praise an appearance that included nothing very positive about Trump. That suggests–I speculate–that Trump has considerable interest in the qualities that Cotton could bring to his ticket. With all due respect to Joni Ernst, of whom I am a fan, one would have to place a lot of value on her gender to put her on an equal footing with Tom Cotton as a potential vice president.
It is easy to understand why Trump would want to ally himself with Senator Cotton’s ability, foreign policy and intelligence credibility, youth, and reputation for seriousness and probity. Whether Cotton would want to associate himself so closely with Donald Trump is another question, but a place on a national ticket is hard to turn down.