Trump wanted to tap daughter Ivanka as his running mate in 2016: Rick Gates

Trump wanted to tap daughter Ivanka as his running mate in 2016: Rick Gates
Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump disembarks Marine One on arrival Ashville Regional Airport Landing Zone in Ashville, N.C. Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, to join President Donald J. Trump for his visit to Flavor First Growers and Packers in Mills River, N.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump showed the Christian Right how badly he wanted their votes when he picked then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a far-right social conservative, as his running mate. But in a new book, Rick Gates — who served as a deputy campaign manager for Trump in 2016 — reveals that before he picked Pence, Trump was seriously considering someone else: his daughter Ivanka Trump, now a White House senior adviser.

Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post report that according to Gates, Donald Trump told a group of allies, "I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?.... She's bright, she's smart, she's beautiful, and the people would love her."

Trump's suggestion, Helderman and Hamburger note, was not a "passing fancy," but an idea that he brought up "repeatedly over the following weeks, trying to sell his campaign staff on the idea — insisting she would be embraced by the Republican base."

It was Ivanka Trump herself, according to Gates, who dissuaded her father.

Helderman and Hamburger explain, "Trump was so taken with the concept of his eldest daughter as his vice president — and so cool to other options, including his eventual selection, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — that his team polled the idea twice, according to Gates. It was Ivanka Trump who finally ended the conversation, Gates writes, going to her father to tell him it wasn't a good idea. Trump eventually came around and selected Pence."

Had Donald Trump chosen his daughter as his running mate, she would have been just barely old enough. Ivanka Trump, born in New York City on October 30, 1981, was 34 when her father was considering her for his running mate and turned 35 — the minimum age to be president or vice president — on October 30, 2016. A presidential candidate's running mate, under the U.S. Constitution, can be 34 but has to be 35 by Inauguration Day.

Gates' book, "Wicked Game: An Insider's Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost," is due out on October 13. Helderman and Hamburger note that unlike other Trump-related books released in 2020, "Wicked Game" is not a tell-all book but rather, a "defense of the president and how he and others helped elect him."

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