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Corker, Ernst Remove Themselves From Trump Veepstakes

Corker campaigned night before with Trump, Ernst says she's focused on Iowa

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, right, campaigned on Tuesday with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, right, campaigned on Tuesday with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bob Corker has withdrawn from consideration to be Donald Trump’s running mate, and it appears that Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst is doing the same.  

A spokeswoman for Corker, a Tennessee Republican, confirmed Wednesday that the senator had ruled himself out. The development was first reported by The Washington Post. [

What is Bob Corker Doing With Donald Trump?

]  

Corker told reporters Wednesday that he expects Trump to take all the time he needs before deciding who would be his Vice President.  

“He may firm up on someone and make the decision earlier,” he said, “but I think the greater likelihood is he takes every day that he has, every second up until the 15th to make that decision.”  

Corker spent around eight hours with Trump Tuesday, which included meetings at Trump Tower and a trip to Raleigh, N.C., on Trump’s private plane. Corker said Trump asked questions about the Senate and other topics.  

“It kind of became a friendship pretty quickly,” Corker said.  

He indicated the pair did not discuss other areas where Corker could serve in a hypothetical Trump administration.  

Corker said he realized he was not suited to be vice president, but was open to the vetting process.  

“I’m 63. I pretty well know what I’m good at and what I’m best at doing,” he said. “But I think you know when an opportunity like this comes up, I think unless you sit down and at least have some discussion about it then you have discomfort later in life as to whether you unturned every stone. I went into it feeling that probably there’s a better way to serve.”  

When Corker campaigned with Trump on Tuesday in North Carolina, he said on the stage that he hadn’t even been planning to speak.  

Corker did say Wednesday that he was asked to speak at the GOP convention on foreign policy and they’re working on the details. He said he believed organizers were planning a series of short speeches rather than lengthy addresses.  

Ernst, an Iowa Republican, is also going to be giving a national security speech at the convention in Cleveland, according to a GOP adviser familiar with the planning.  

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said Wednesday he had not been asked to speak in Cleveland by Trump’s operation.  

He also does not expect to appear on the campaign trail with Trump ahead of the running mate announcement, like Corker did Tuesday.  

“I haven’t been asked, and I don’t think I will be,” Thune said.  

Ernst also appeared to take herself out of consideration for vice president though, telling Politico that she wants to focus on her home state and the Senate, where the freshman said she’s “just getting started.”  

Ernst’s standing in the vice presidential sweepstakes was elevated over the weekend when Trump tweeted how much he was impressed with her and promised he would “see her again.”  

But she told Politico that she made it clear to the presumed GOP nominee that she’s focusing on her business before the Senate.  

“And Iowa is where my heart is. I’m just getting started here. I have a great partner with Chuck Grassley, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And I think that President Trump will need some great assistance in the United States Senate and I can provide that.” Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.


Contact Smith at 


jeremysmith@cqrollcall.com


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@JeremySilkSmith

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Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski.


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