After two prominent senators withdrew their names as possible vice presidents in a Trump administration, the Republican nominee is left with an increasingly short VP short-list.
It was great spending time with @joniernst yesterday. She has done a fantastic job for the people of Iowa and U.S. Will see her again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
But Ernst had other ideas. In an interview with Politico on Wednesday, the Iowa senator suggested she would not be joining the Republican ticket, saying she’s “just getting started” in the Senate.
“I made that very clear to him that I’m focused on Iowa,” she said.
Speculation around an Ernst VP pick was fueled by news that she would be taking up a prominent speaking spot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland later this month.
Corker, who was formally vetted by the Trump campaign, was perhaps more explicit in rejecting the GOP vice-presidential spot.
“There are people far more suited for being a candidate for vice president, and I think I’m far more suited for other types of things,” Corker told the Washington Post.
The exit of Corker, who serves as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, represents a huge blow towards any chance Trump had left to bulk up foreign policy expertise on the GOP ticket.
No other reported VP possibilities have much reputable foreign policy experience, and Trump’s credibility on the issue is in doubt. Several Republican foreign policy heavyweights from the Bush era have already pledged their vote to Hillary Clinton.
Indeed, it may have been Corker’s strong disagreement on key foreign policy issues, such as Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration, that caused the senator to refuse a possible spot as running-mate.
Along with Ernst’s exit, his announcement leaves three reported possibilities: Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and Gov. Mike Pence — not counting a surprise pick. (Sarah Palin was entirely absent from many commentators’ VP short-lists in 2012.)
In addition to his meetings with Corker and Ernst, Trump also spent his Fourth of July weekend with Pence, and will appear at a rally tomorrow with Gingrich, according to the Post.
Ernst, for her part, told Politico that she favors Pence, calling him “so well rounded” and “a great conservative.
Photo: U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R) participates in the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst