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Trump’s VP search enters a new phase: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Jun6,2024

Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, we report on Donald Trump’s accelerated vice presidential selection process. Moreover, senior political analyst Chuck Todd asks whether Trump’s guilty verdict would have mattered more if President Joe Biden had been more popular.

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Trump’s search for vice president enters a new phase

By Henry J. Gomez, Matt Dixon, Jonathan Allen, and Dasha Burns

The search for Donald Trump running mate is ramping up as the former president awaits sentencing on felony charges and prepares for next month’s Republican National Convention.

Five sources familiar with the process told NBC News that the vice presidential candidates recently received the vetting materials.

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According to one source, Trump’s search focused on four main prospects:

  • North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
  • Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • Senator JD Vance of Ohio

Another source described a three-way race involving Burgum, Rubio and Vance.

Although it is not clear who is being asked to provide verification details that could exclude them. A source familiar with the survey said Burgum, who has spent more time with Trump in recent weeks, was among those surveyed. Burgum’s advisers and other fellow candidates declined or did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Sources involved in the conversations about the search cautioned that Trump was working from a short list that sometimes contained more than half a dozen names. Additions, subtractions, and the emergence of dark horse candidates remain possible.

Trump and his advisers have watched the search, which has been relatively quiet until recently, as the presumptive GOP nominee was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to an adult film actor.

Trump said in interviews that the decision on his running mate will probably come closer to the convention that will open on July 15 in Milwaukee. In 2016, he announced Mike Pence as his running mate just days before that year’s nominating convention in Cleveland.

Read more about Veepstakes →

Election fog hits the 2024 campaign

By Chuck Todd

After the former president, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, was convicted of a historic crime, the entire political community is trying to figure out what it means now and what it will mean in November.

There was a time when immoral and unethical behavior was a political death knell. But with big technology and social media algorithmically accelerating our tribal instincts, it’s never been easier for anyone, guilty or not, to claim victimhood with some segment of the public. Red and blue tribes these days have an uncanny ability to dissect the bad behavior of people on their side while crying foul about an opponent with similar or worse traits.

To me, the real question of whether the ruling will sway voters is in the hands of the two presidential campaigns. How much does judgment compare to setting the atmosphere front and center?

The question I ask myself is: Would this verdict matter more to voters if President Joe Biden had a higher approval rating?

It’s an impossible hypothesis to test at this point, but it’s impossible to ignore Trump’s moral and ethical failings because some voters simply don’t think Biden is up to the job. Of course, if Biden were in a better political position, the GOP might have gone in a different direction during the primaries.

The point is that politics is a zero-sum game, and it’s the binary choice that the public believes they have to choose the flawed one. It comes back to a question about two types of undecided voters in this election: desire and operation. Aspirational voters vote for what is in the country’s best interest, and operational voters vote for what they believe is in their best interest. I’m not sure there are many willing voters left in the undecided column, but I believe there are quite a few operational voters left.

The limited polling I’ve seen so far (including private campaign polling) suggests that the verdict has barely budged in numbers over the past week. Of course, it could still “barely” be decisive in a close election, so I don’t want to discount the idea that even a 1-2 point move won’t matter.

Read more from Chuck →

🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • ⏸️ Pause is pressed: A Georgia appeals court has stayed the state election interference case against Trump pending the outcome of a motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis. The move means the case is guaranteed not to go to trial before November. More →
  • 🔫 License revoked: Trump’s gun license is expected to be revoked after he is convicted of a felony, according to a spokesperson for the New York Police Department. More →
  • 👀 ‘Very likely’: In an interview with Newsmax, Trump revealed the possibility of imprisoning political opponents if elected. More →
  • 🚫 Voted: Senate Republicans have blocked legislation establishing a federal right to contraception, dismissing the Democratic-led measure as an election-year stall. More →
  • 🗽 “Staff” member on the ropes : Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York is fighting for political survival as he faces a primary opponent later this month who has attacked him for being too progressive and too critical of Israel’s behavior in Gaza. More →
  • ⚖️ Hunter Biden latest: Hunter Biden’s sex wife and ex-girlfriend took a position Wednesday, testifying about his drug use. Meanwhile, House Republicans have sent criminal complaints to the Justice Department recommending that Hunter Biden and James Biden be charged with perjury to Congress. More →
  • 💸 Big spenders: A pro-Trump super PAC It plans to spend 100 million dollars in summer ads in a handful of swing states. And the ACLU will spend $25 million on down-ballot races this year, the group’s latest investment for an election cycle. More →
  • 🗳️ Viewing the survey: The RNC is slowly refining its plan to hire 100,000 lawyers and volunteers to monitor the 2024 vote. Democrats are skeptical. More →
  • 🩺 Mixed reviews: Nevada Republican Jeff Gunter has made his dermatology career a key part of his Senate bid, but online reviews from people who claim to be his patients are mixed, with some deeply critical. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email

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