Pence, Coats downplay Trump running mate speculation

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Donald Trump pays a visit to Gov. Mike Pence before Indianapolis rally

4 Fast Facts

  • Politico article mentions Dan Coats and Mike Pence as potential running mates for Donald Trump
  • Spokesman for both dismissed the speculation
  • Trump says he’s narrowed list of VP candidates to “five or six”
  • Pence endorsed Ted Cruz for Indiana primary but praised Trump while doing so

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Dan Coats are dismissing speculation that they could be Donald Trump’s running mate on the Republican ticket.

Trump said he’s narrowed his list of vice presidential candidates down to “five or six,” and a report from Politico cited a source saying Pence had received “vetting overtures,” according to our newsgathering partners at the IndyStar.

The same Politico article floated Coats’ name as another possible running mate. Trump said he wanted someone who can “walk into the Senate and who’s been friendly with these guys for 25 years, and people for 25 years.”

Sen. Dan Coats

Sen. Dan Coats

Coats would certainly fit the bill. He served eight years in the House and 10 years in the Senate and also served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to Germany. He’s been around politics for 35 years.

Coats, however, plans to retire after his term is over. Spokesman Matt Lahr told the IndyStar that Coats had huge plans for 2017—“spending the summer at Wrigley Field cheering on the Cubs.”

Coats has also been critical of Trump, expressing dismay with Trump’s comments about banning Muslims from coming to the U.S. and telling the Associated Press in February that he was “increasingly concerned” about Trump’s “ability to win the general election and provide presidential leadership.”

As for Pence, the governor endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of Indiana’s primary but praised Trump during that endorsement. After Trump won a decisive victory in Indiana, Pence said he’d campaign hard for Trump.

“I’m fully supportive of our presumptive nominee, and I do think Donald Trump will do well in the State of Indiana,” Pence said.

Marc Lotter, deputy campaign manager for Pence’s re-election campaign, said the governor hasn’t been contacted about being vetted despite the report from Politico. The governor told reporters in Terre Haute that he had no interest in being Trump’s running mate.

“I have no interest in that,” Pence said. “I’m going to stay focused on the future of the people of Indiana.”

Pence and Coats weren’t the only names mentioned in the Politico article. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) were also floated as possible vice presidential picks.

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