POLITICS

Trump Really Wanted Ivanka As His 2016 Running Mate, According To Rick Gates

In his new book, “Wicked Game,” Trump’s former deputy campaign manager wrote that the president even polled the idea twice.

It seems that Vice President Mike Pence was not President Donald Trump’s No. 1 pick for his No. 2.

According to a new book from Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, the president initially suggested that Ivanka Trump, Trump’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, should be his running mate in June 2016 when his campaign aides began discussing the matter, Bloomberg News reports.

“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump reportedly asked an assembled group that included Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a Trump senior adviser.

“All heads turned toward her, and she just looked surprised. We all knew Trump well enough to keep our mouths shut and not laugh,” Gates wrote, according to Bloomberg’s account of the book. “He went on: ‘She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!’”

Ivanka Trump introduced her father at the Republican National Convention, where he delivered his acceptance speech as the Rep
Ivanka Trump introduced her father at the Republican National Convention, where he delivered his acceptance speech as the Republican presidential nominee in August.

Gates said that Trump’s team nixed the idea of Vice President Ivanka Trump, who at the time was a 34-year-old fashion and real estate executive with no political experience.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee were then considered for the ticket, but they took their names out of the running. According to Gates’ account, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and Gates’ former business partner, Paul Manafort, suggested someone like then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence “who could bring balance to the ticket.”

“But Trump said, ‘Look, I don’t like any of these people,’” Gates wrote. “Once again, he said, ‘I think it should be Ivanka.’”

According to Gates, Trump was so convinced that the Republican Party would embrace his daughter that his team even polled the idea twice.

She didn’t poll “tremendously high, but higher than we expected,” he wrote. “And that only added to the seriousness of her consideration.” 

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited his Scottish golf course with his daughter Ivanka Trump in 2015.
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited his Scottish golf course with his daughter Ivanka Trump in 2015.

It was apparently Ivanka Trump herself who eventually put a stop to the blatantly nepotistic concept, telling her father it wasn’t a good idea.

“And he capitulated,” Gates wrote.

According to Gates, Donald Trump finally settled on Pence after he regaled Trump with a “vicious and extended monologue” about Bill and Hillary Clinton during a meeting later that summer, according to The Washington Post.

The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

“This is not true and there was never any such poll,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, told the Post on Monday.

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington, D.C., in February 2018. His book “Wicked Game: An Insider’s S
Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington, D.C., in February 2018. His book “Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost,” is set to be released in October.

In February 2018, Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and lying to federal investigators about lobbying work he and his former business partner, Manafort, did for pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine before joining Trump’s team.

Despite being sentenced to 45 days in jail, three years of probation, a $20,000 fine, and cooperating extensively in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Gates’ book is reportedly not a tell-all, unlike the offering from Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, “Disloyal: A Memoir.”

Rather, Gates defends the president and tells the story of how he and others helped put him in the Oval Office, according to the Post.

Gates told the Post that he does not know if Trump would have seriously put his daughter’s name on the ticket, but included the anecdote in his book because he believes it’s exemplary of the type of unconventional thinking that makes Trump an appealing candidate to some. He also believes it highlights Trump’s commitment to his family and illuminates his brand of loyalty — which is ensuring that those closest to him support only his agenda or “the values and assets that Trump cared most about,” Gates told the Post.

Gates’ book, “Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost,” is set to be published on Oct. 13.