Ted Cruz’s announcement last week of his pick for Vice President, Carly Fiorina, in conjunction with Trump’s likely win in Indiana this evening, will undoubtedly spur new talk of potential VP picks for Donald Trump. Enter Marco Rubio, who has already been mentioned by Trump confidante Roger Stone as a potential pick for Trump’s VP.
Rubio would be a great water-under-the-bridge candidate for Trump in terms of uniting his coalition with the GOP establishment. Trump himself has gone on record saying that he wants a VP with political experience in order to help him push his agenda in congress:
“I do want somebody that’s political, because I want to get lots of great legislation we all want passed,” Trump said Wednesday in a Q&A at Regent University. “We’re going to probably choose somebody that’s somewhat political.”
A potential hurdle to a VP nod from Trump is the fact that the negative campaigning between Rubio and Trump did get particularly dirty, especially when Rubio brought up Trump’s small hands and “what they say about guys with small hands.” However, Trump has shown that he’s able to smooth things over with his former rivals. Back in November, Trump said of his then-rival Ben Carson:
“It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper,” he said. “That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that … as an example: child molesting. You don’t cure these people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it. Pathological, there’s no cure for that.”
Despite Trump’s comments, Carson endorsed Trump on March 11th of this year—merely one week after he suspended his campaign. One notable former rival that has yet to make any endorsements is Marco Rubio. Rubio has instead made moves to keep his delegates leading into the convention. In fact, just last week, the Alaska GOP voted to allow him to keep his delegates.
While this may indicate to some that Rubio may want to be considered as a potential nominee if the convention moves well past the first ballot. More likely, however, is that Rubio is positioning himself as an attractive VP pick—especially for a candidate who may enter the convention a handful of delegates short. Given that there is only one candidate who can mathematically get within a stone’s throw of the 1,237 mark, and appears to be very much on track to exceed that number, it would seem that Rubio’s best shot at VP would be with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.
Rubio hasn’t officially said that he would encourage his delegates to vote for Trump, but he has alluded to it on at least one occasion, stating:
“[I]t’s valid to argue to delegates: ‘look, let’s not divide the party. You have someone here who has all these votes, very close to get[ting] 1,237. Let’s not ignore the will of the people. They’re going to be angry.’ And delegates may decide that, on that reason, they decide to vote for Donald Trump. But if they don’t, it is not illegitimate in any way. That’s why we elect delegates. That’s the meaning of being a delegate is choosing a nominee that can win.”
The statement isn’t an endorsement of Trump, but it certainly isn’t a rallying cry for the so-called NeverTrump movement, but it’s clear that Rubio wants to play a role at the convention.
Rubio decided not to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, and has instead expressed interest in working in the private sector for the time being. However, if Rubio still has future political aspirations, it certainly couldn’t hurt if his role at convention is the bridge between the establishment and the Trump coalition, and thus the party’s unifier.
Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Pinho.