At this stage of a presidential campaign, the question is usually, who will be the nominee’s running mate? This year, for the Republicans, the question is, who in their right mind would want to be Donald Trump‘s running mate?
Fortunately for Trump, there isn’t a shortage of GOP politicians who are not in their right mind. Needless to say, some of the party’s leading homophobes are among them.
Word is that Trump will pick his choice within the next week. Here’s a rundown on four of the men (and it’s all men, of course) willing to hop on a tugboat to board the political equivalent of the Titanic.
Christie has been serving as Trump’s political butt boy ever since the New Jersey governor endorsed him back in February. At key moments, Christie has popped up at Trump’s side, looking more like a hostage than a supporter, to lend the veneer of establishment credibility to the reality star. Besides serving as a defender of Trump on television, Christie is also apparently responsible for fetching the candidate’s lunch from McDonald’s. While Christie at least looks more qualified to be Vice President than the candidate at the top of the ticket, he carries a lot of baggage besides Trump’s. Christie was reported on the short list for VP in 2012, but Mitt Romney’s team decided that Christie had a long list of problems in his background. Like Trump, Christie isn’t as ideologically pure on gay issues. He opposed marriage equality, but as governor he signed a bill banning conversion therapy. He is a perfect match for Trump in one sense: both are bullies.
2. Newt Gingrich
You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when Newt Gingrich is high on your list of eligible choices. The former Speaker of the House ran a disastrous presidential campaign in 2012. But he briefly emerged at the top of the pack for a short time, a harbinger of the future that Trump has fulfilled. Gingrich is reflexively antigay. He’s accused the LGBT community of making Catholics outlaws, he funneled money to the religious right’s campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court justices for supporting marriage equality, and he has complained about “gay and secular fascism.” All this despite a lesbian half-sister, Candace. What’s not to love? The irony is that Gingrich is a serial adulterer whose own attitude toward marriage resembles what the right-wing fears most about marriage equality.
4. Mike Pence
The governor of Indiana is the heartthrob of the religious liberty lobby. Last year, Pence signed a bill that would allow anyone to discriminate against the LGBT community for religious reasons. As a sign of his courage, Pence signed the bill in private and then issued a written statement insisting the law was “not about discrimination.” In the ensuring backlash, Pence’s ratings cratered and he gave multiple not-ready-for-prime-time appearances in the media and town halls. The state eventually had to back down but not before Pence proved that he was really inept.
4. Jeff Sessions
The Senator from Alabama has been staunch supporter of Trump because of their agreement on the fantasy threat that immigration represents. (It’s a problem that has plagued Sessions’ family ever since they came to this country.) Still, he’s had plenty of opportunity to bash LGBT rights. The Human Rights Campaign elected Sessions to its Hall of Shame for his zero rating on LGBT issues. He was a leading opponent of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. When Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court, he complained about how while at Harvard she ended military recruiting on campus because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Sessions would be a dream candidate for the religious right and ensure that Trump would carry Alabama–as if there was any question he wouldn’t.
There’s always a chance Trump could name someone else. After all, the vetting process is being run by the same guy who recommended Sarah Palin to John McCain.
And we all know how well that worked out.