Tune into Trump’s VP Apprentice show

The Donald names names

President Donald Trump speaks during a Turning Point PAC town hall at Dream City Church on June 06, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona (Getty Images)
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Welcome to Thunderdome. Well, we finally have it! A list of contestants for Donald Trump’s long-anticipated veepstakes, designed to play out live and on camera in the coming month before the Republican convention — you just know he’s going to make us all wait for the reveal. There are a few surprises in omissions and additions, but not many. Now, this being Trump, he could always swerve at the last minute and have a surprise entry… so Tulsi Gabbard fans, all hope is not lost. But here are the candidates we know for now:

Governor Doug Burgum…

Welcome to Thunderdome. Well, we finally have it! A list of contestants for Donald Trump’s long-anticipated veepstakes, designed to play out live and on camera in the coming month before the Republican convention — you just know he’s going to make us all wait for the reveal. There are a few surprises in omissions and additions, but not many. Now, this being Trump, he could always swerve at the last minute and have a surprise entry… so Tulsi Gabbard fans, all hope is not lost. But here are the candidates we know for now:

  • Governor Doug Burgum (ND)
  • Ben Carson, former HUD secretary
  • Senator Tom Cotton (Ark.)
  • Representative Byron Donalds (Fla.)
  • Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.)
  • Senator Tim Scott (S.C.)
  • Representative Elise Stefanik (N.Y.)
  • Senator J.D. Vance (Ohio)

Axios reports that the level of requests was uneven, potentially a sign that there are already more heavily favored names on the list. But already we can start with the handicapping and debating pros and cons.

My general thoughts are based on the assumption that Trump wants to do three things with his choice: have an ardent defender, solidify the normie suburban voter’s support with a reassuring choice (getting Nikki Haley’s faction without Nikki Haley) and continue making inroads with black and Hispanic voters — all of which seem logical to me. There’s also another factor, which is whether he wants to pick an heir apparent, or purposefully avoid such a choice — but that’s harder to know.

While Donalds and Stefanik are both solid warriors for Trump on camera and in the House, neither of them seem quite ready to jump into the job. He may get as much as he needs from them without them on the ticket.

Vance is extremely ambitious, but does he bring voters that Trump wouldn’t already have anyway? He also runs the risk of seeming like he’s going to immediately start running for president… but Trump does like his story, and Trumpworld loves him as the combo of “Hillbilly” star and Ivy League cred. Cotton suffers from some of the same ambition factors, though both men kind of speak to the “world is on fire” moment with recent military experience. I’d give the edge to Vance, who doesn’t look long for the Senate — Cotton looks more like a Cabinet member. Maybe next time he can make the decision to send in the troops himself?

Carson and Scott scratch the “male black vote” itch that Trump has on paper — but do they move a significant number of black voters, or are they just effectively racial lightning rods? Both may actually work better as bait to expose media racists — imagine The View talking about them every day. Of course, Scott is younger and certainly better on the debate stage. He seems more ready for the job.

Burgum seems like the safest choice all around. He offends no one, would be a loyal soldier, and his business acumen is something Trump appreciates. He’s a new face on the national stage without the risk factor most new faces bring. But is he too boring? And would he be able to withstand the negative media onslaught? Is it a risk to have just two white businessmen running together? These are all open questions.

Out of this list, Rubio may be the most obvious pick to bring in the Haley contingent without Haley. He’s adapted to the Trump dynamic very well when it comes to moving in a serious populist direction without just aping the lines. He has matured as a voice and is familiar to most voters. And as a communicator, he’s the sharpest on this list — and provides a serious contrast with Kamala Harris. In a way, naming him as vice president completes Trump’s arc of taking over the Republican Party in the friendliest way possible. But does DJT care about that, even a little bit?

As of today, in candidate casino, I’d bet evenly on Rubio or Vance and scatter a bit on Scott and Burgum. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

Don’t you dare call Joe Biden old

How dare the Wall Street Journal report accurately what everyone in Washington has known for years? The White House is super mad about it, and they’re getting an assist from their favorites in media and in the Senate — Joe Scarborough and Mitt Romney:

That the Journal was the outlet to print the item was a particular sore spot for the White House. According to three people familiar with the communications shop’s perceptions of the press corps, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal thinking, the West Wing has long viewed the paper’s White House reporters as both predictable and sober-minded, chief among them Ken Thomas. It also sees the Journal’s audience as one it needs to cultivate — the center-right electorate that Biden must gain ground with if he is going to make up for his current deficit with younger, liberal voters.

The response didn’t just indicate that Biden’s age remains a sensitive point for the White House and allied Democrats, but that the president’s team is still uncertain about how best to parlay scrutiny of it. Having downplayed these storylines early in the administration, aides have tried to use humor or even embrace the idea that Biden is old (and wise) as a response. On Wednesday, they tried fury.

But inside the West Wing, Biden aides said they felt vindicated that cable news hosts slammed the piece. That included a Biden favorite, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who called the story a “Trump hit piece” during a 
Morning Joe segment. (Deputy press secretary Andrew Bates posted about the segment at least nine times on Wednesday.)

Additional vindication would come from Capitol Hill, where several Republican senators downplayed the seriousness of the portrayal of Biden that their House GOP counterparts had presented.

Senator Mitt Romney said in his meetings and phone calls with Biden he’s found the president “to be normally capable, intellectually. And with it. At the same time, when we get older like me, we may not be as sharp as we once were. But we, hopefully, make up for that with wisdom and better judgment.” Romney said he does not harbor concerns about Biden’s decision-making or fitness for the job.

“Fury”? Come now Politico. Now who’s being naïve.

Lawfare’s utter failure

So let’s take stock of where all the lawfare attacks from the Democrats that were supposed to doom Donald Trump with Independent voters have ended up. Jack Smith’s cases? Stalled in DC, and sidelined in Florida over special counsel legitimacy disputes. Letitia James? Frustrated in her attempts to seize Trump’s property via a massive bond demand, appeal kicked forward. Jena Griswold? Utterly wrecked at SCOTUS. And now Fani Willis’s Georgia case, arguably the most ambitious of them all, looks to be delayed perhaps to the point of death.

A Georgia appeals court has halted all pretrial proceedings in Donald Trump’s Atlanta-based criminal case while a three-judge panel considers whether to disqualify the lead prosecutor, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis.

The order issued Wednesday effectively confirms that the sprawling racketeering case against Trump and more than a dozen codefendants — charging them with an attempt to corrupt Georgia’s 2020 election results — will not come before a jury in 2024.

The case had already seemed like a longshot to go to trial before this year’s presidential election, with a long list of complicated pretrial matters still pending before Judge Scott McAfee. The Georgia appeals court order blocks McAfee from advancing those issues while Trump and other defendants mount an appeal over allegations of ethical lapses by Willis. That appeal is scheduled for oral arguments on October 4, with a decision from the appellate court likely to take several months after that.

For Trump, it’s another vindication of his well-worn strategy to delay his criminal cases until after the election. If he prevails in November, he’s unlikely to face the Georgia case until 2029 — if at all — because many legal experts believe a state cannot constitutionally prosecute a sitting president. As president, Trump would also have the power to unravel the other two languishing criminal cases against him, both brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

The idea that after all these missiles were launched at Trump via the Democratic lawfare war machine, the only ones that got through were from E. Jean Carroll and Alvin Bragg — both radiating in the minds of voters as tawdry sexual misdeeds instead of meaningful violations of the law — it’d be a pretty disappointing outcome for MSNBC viewers. Lest we forget, these tactics were supposed to end Trump as a functional candidate by the summer. Instead, all this lawfare accomplished was promoting him to the nomination without even having to debate, solidifying his hold on GOP voters and politicians, and lofting him to fundraising outpacing Joe Biden. Helluva strategy!

Hunter Biden, King of Wilmington

It’s hard to read the details coming out of Hunter Biden’s trial without wanting to vomit in your mouth if you have any kind of class. Miranda Devine did a good job rounding up the courtroom experience here. But what’s more interesting is that this case even went to trial. It is a sign once again of Hunter’s enduring trait: hubris, an emphatic belief that he is special, the rules don’t apply to him, and he can always beat the rap.

You can literally show the texts of him trying to DoorDash crack from Mookie less than twenty-four hours after buying a gun and legally claiming he wasn’t doing drugs, it won’t matter — he’s a Biden being tried in Delaware! In court, he can smile and wave at the “Weedslut” stripper he had a lengthy affair with (this was both after and before he was having sex with his dead brother’s widow) while blowing the alimony money he owed his ex-wife and three daughters at Chateau Marmont and learning to cook his own crack on the stovetop. It’s the confidence of a man who gets multiple waivers from on high to join the Naval Reserve then gets booted in less than a year because he’s using cocaine. It’s the confidence of a man who knows his family is royalty in Delaware.

That’s why the case went to trial — even if it’s causing pain for all the people he wronged, even though it’s a distraction for the White House, even though, as Jonathan Turley writes, the Defense’s case was entirely demolished within the first two days of the trial:

Every claim of the defense seemed to collapse in the first two days of the trial.

The defense argued that Hunter did not check the box on the gun form, so the prosecutors called the employee who watched him fill out the form.

It claimed he was not using drugs at the time, so the prosecutors read texts from the next day in which Hunter sought to buy crack and called a series of witnesses on his continual use of crack during the period.

The defense previously claimed the laptop showed evidence of tampering, so the prosecutor called a FBI agent establishing that there is no evidence of tampering and that the laptop is authentic.

The defense claimed that Hunter just wandered into the store and was pressured to buy a gun, so prosecutors called an employee who testified that Hunter came in specifically wanting to buy a gun.

As previously discussed, the lack of a defense is becoming glaringly obvious as is the nullification strategy…

Wilmington for Biden is the opposite of Manhattan for Trump. This is a town that overwhelmingly voted for Biden in 2016 and 2020. It is a great jury pool for the defense.

Viewed through a nullification defense, it does not matter how absurd the actual defense is in the case.

It is merely a pretense. Whether it is sympathy for a drug addict or a Biden, the defense clearly hopes that the jury will look beyond the evidence and the crime in this case.

And if they don’t? Well, dad will just pardon him. There’s always a way to skate by.

One more thing

On D-Day, I highly encourage you to read this reprint of a 1964 article from Spectator editor Iain McLeod, writing on his experience on that Day of Days:

The waves were still choppy and the landing was going to be a hazardous and in part a haphazard affair. But the day was becoming warm. The coast of Normandy began to take shape through the haze. And then as full light began to come one saw the ships and the planes. It was a sight so paralyzing that tears came to my eyes. It was as if every ship that had ever been launched was there and even as if the sea had yielded up her wrecks. It was as if every plane that had ever been built was there, and, so it seemed in fantasy, as if the dead crews were there too. There had never been since time began such a rendezvous for fighting men: there never will be again. And I remember reciting, not in scorn, but out of sheer delight at being part of that great company in such a place, “And gentlemen in England now abed …”