Donald Trump wanted daughter Ivanka to be running mate in 2016, book says

Ex-campaign deputy Rick Gates quotes Trump as saying: ‘Ivanka should be vice-president’ in book out in October

Donald Trump wanted to name his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as his running mate in 2016, according to a new book by former campaign deputy Rick Gates, reported by Bloomberg News.

“I think it should be Ivanka,” Trump is quoted as saying in Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed and America Lost, which will be published on 13 October. “What about Ivanka as my VP?”

The news lands as Ivanka Trump, who with her husband Jared Kushner remains a senior White House adviser, is named in the New York Times’ bombshell report on her father’s taxes, appearing to have received “consulting fees” that helped reduce the family tax bill.

Ivanka has not served in elected office but is widely thought to have political ambitions of her own, possibly in the 2024 presidential race.

Gates says Trump was serious about making his then 34-year-old daughter his potential vice-president, returning to the theme and even carrying out public polling.

“All heads turned toward her, and she just looked surprised,” he reportedly writes of when Trump raised the idea to a group of aides. “We all knew Trump well enough to keep our mouths shut and not laugh. He went on: ‘She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!”’

Ivanka Trump reportedly told her father it wasn’t a good idea. Gates says Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, was picked after delivering a “vicious and extended monologue” about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent.

Gates, who told the Washington Post he was not sure Trump would have gone through with picking his daughter, was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. He co-operated and was sentenced in December 2019 to three years probation and intermittent confinement for tax and lobbying offenses committed with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair who was sent to prison.

The White House did not immediately comment on Bloomberg’s report.

Gates also reportedly writes that former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Tennessee senator Bob Corker, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions (eventually Trump’s first attorney general), Iowa senator Joni Ernst and former defense secretary Robert Gates were suggested to Trump as possible running mates.

Ivanka and Kushner, Gates says, liked the idea of former House speaker and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Newt Gingrich.

The Post reported that Gates has remained loyal, writing: “Unlike a number of other memoirs by former Trump staffers, Gates’s book serves not as a tell-all, but rather a defense of the president and how he and others helped elect him.”

One such tell-all, Stephanie Winston-Wolkoff’s Melania & Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady, claims Gates worked with Ivanka Trump to undermine Melania Trump, the president’s third wife.

For example, Wolkoff details suspicions that Gates was behind a scandal over plagiarism from Michelle Obama in Melania Trump’s convention speech in Cleveland in 2016. Wolkoff writes: “If Ivanka controlled Rick, and Rick had allegedly written Melania’s convention speech, did that mean Ivanka was behind that major faux pas/sabotage?”

Wolkoff also writes of a scandal over fundraising for the inauguration, on which Gates worked. Melania Trump, she writes, called aides to her stepdaughter “snakes”.


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

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