Corker, Ernst Withdraw From Trump’s Veep Consideration

Two potential Donald Trump running mates in the Senate have taken themselves out of contention.

First up, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said he’d prefer to focus on policy from the Senate:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has recently emerged as a finalist in the search for Donald Trump’s running mate, told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday that he has taken himself out of consideration for the position.

Corker said that he informed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee of his decision during their day together on Tuesday, when the senator had a series of meetings with campaign officials in New York and then flew with Trump to an evening rally in North Carolina.

“There are people far more suited for being a candidate for vice president, and I think I’m far more suited for other types of things,” Corker said in an extensive phone interview where he repeatedly praised Trump and said he is eager to serve as an informal adviser to the candidate in the coming months.

As they sat close together on Trump’s Boeing 757, Corker recalled telling Trump about how he’s more policy-oriented than political and how even though he has become friendly with Trump, he did not feel comfortable stepping fully into the role of political attack dog or rousing speechmaker.

“It’s a highly political job, and that’s not who I am,” Corker said. “We had a very open conversation about that, and actually, we have been very candid about it from the very beginning of our meetings. I left there feeling very good about him as a person but also realized that at age 63, I know the things I’m good at doing. And knowing what a candidate for vice president has to do, it’s just not the right thing for me, and I don’t think it’s the right thing for them.”

Over the past month, Corker has been under serious consideration by Trump and had submitted personal documents to lawyer A.B. Culvahouse Jr., who is managing the vetting process.

Then Iowa Senator Joni Ernst effectively took herself out of contention as well:

Joni Ernst all but removed herself from Donald Trump’s vice presidential search, telling POLITICO in an interview that she wants to help Trump become president but that she’s focused on Iowa and the Senate, where the freshman senator said she’s “just getting started.”

The GOP senator met with Trump on Monday and received effusive praise afterward, with Trump predicting he will “see her again.” But it likely won’t be as his running mate.

“I made that very clear to him that I’m focused on Iowa. I feel that I have a lot more to do in the United States Senate. And Iowa is where my heart is,” Ernst said Wednesday. “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.”

The 46-year-old Ernst, who won the critical swing state race in 2014, said she will be offering tactical advice to Trump about how to win her home state. And she is expected to give a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention, focusing on national security, according to a source familiar with those plans.

“I will probably participate more as an advocate,” Ernst said of her role in the Trump campaign. “I would love to assist him out on the trail.”

It’s not at all clear that either Corker or Ernst were very high on Trump’s list, so it’s not clear that this really has much of an impact on the process at this point. Nonetheless, as it stands now, it would appear that the Republican short list is down to Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence. We should find out who Trump has selected next week.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. CSK says:

    Next they’ll be saying that they have to wash their hair.

    Who wants to commit career hara-kiri by joining up with him?

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Corker seems to take up a suggestion I made earlier, that Trump chose Ivanka.

  3. J Russ says:

    Looks like not only are elected Republican rat’s leaving the sinking USS Trump but even Republican has been’s won’t answer their phone fearing being asked to run as Trump’s VP.. Hey Donald did you check with the last Republican dog catcher in Atlantic City, he knows he’ll be out of work next election and maybe looking for a part time gig.till then?

  4. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Oh, yeah. Someone’s going to pull up the Youtube video where Trump and Ivanka are interviewed by Wendy Williams. Williams asks Ivanka what she and her father have in common. She says, “Golf and real estate.” He says, “I’d like to say sex.”

    Seem to me a great ad could be compiled just of Donald being quoted on how much he lusts after his oldest daughter.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    So Trump is down to the failed Speaker, the failed Governor, and …what’s his name…starts with a P? Impressive.

  6. CSK says:


    I’m pretty sure Pence will decline. Which leaves Trump with Gingrich, Carson, and Christie.

  7. rachel says:

    @CSK: Everything one is beautiful awful in their own way.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:


    If he’s planning on declining, he’s not informing any GOP politicians in Indiana. The speaker of the house, and the Lieutenant Governor, are all currently scrambling to set up their internal election campaign.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, this is a howl.

    Read the comments as well. I guffawed.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    Some nuttiness over on the far-left side….

    Bunch of idiots.