Donald Trump has repeatedly assured worried Republicans that he, counter to all evidence, actually has the capacity to unify a most fractured party and in an apparent effort to prove his commitment to party unity, the Republican presidential frontrunner has revealed an off list of former rivals he's magnanimously be willing to embrace as his potential vice presidential running mate.
So far, they've all laughed him off.
In 2008, the Democrats had the PUMAs, the "Party-Unity-My-Ass" hardcore Hillary Clinton supporters who refused to coalesce around rival Barack Obama following the bitter primary battle. This year, Republicans have the #NeverTrump crew to contend with, and appears that some of Trump's former rivals have boarded that train.
"Zero chance," Ohio governor and reluctant also-ran John Kasich said on Tuesday when if he'd serve as Trump's running mate. Kasich is one of two remaining Trump competitors still in the race.
In an interview with Fox News' contributor Kristen Powers for USA Today that was published on Tuesday, Trump said he had already forgiven one-time rival Marco Rubio for ending his campaign with a bang and going out guns blazing with a target on Trump.
"He made a mistake,” Trump graciously offered. “He became Don Rickles for about four days, and then I became worse than Don Rickles.” The candidate even said Rubio was on his short list for potential vice presidential picks:
There are people I have in mind in terms of vice president. I just haven’t told anybody names. ... I do like Marco. I do like (John) Kasich. … I like (Scott) Walker actually in a lot of ways. I hit him very hard. ... But I’ve always liked him. There are people I like, but I don’t think they like me because I have hit them hard.
Asked on "CBS This Morning" about Trump's comments, Kasich said he'd rather return to television than run as Trump's vice president, apparently arguing that he'd be selected as the nominee over Trump at an open convention. "Look, I am running for president of the United States. and that’s it. If I'm not president, which I think I have an excellent shot to be, I will finish my term as governor and then maybe I’ll be a co-host on this show. You never know.”
For his part, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said he was “shocked” to hear that Trump was considering him for the number two spot and admitted that he first reacted with a fit of laughter.
“It’s kind of interesting to hear that after the things that were said about me a couple weeks ago,” Walker said. “It’s almost breathtaking that I was listed in the first place.”
The first of the 17 Republicans vying for the White House to drop out, Walker predicted that the eventually nominee wouldn't even be allowed to select his own running mate.
“Frankly I think if you’ve got a contested convention, I don’t know that anyone’s going to get to pick,” Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal. “The delegates may pick the presidential running mate.”