While not entirely showing his hand on the thinking behind the people he would want in his administration, Donald Trump on Thursday said that both Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are “high on the list for something,” if not as his VP.
Both men have been “very supportive,” Trump said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, who offered a series of recommendations and questions to prepare the presumptive Republican nominee for his race against Hillary Clinton.
As far as whether the election will hinge on terrorism and the ability to win the fight against it and whether Cotton or Christie would fit the bill, Trump suggested it would largely depend on whether there are future attacks before November.
“Well it depends where we are. It depends where we are in the cycle. The attack was so horrible last week, and when there’s attacks, sadly, because there’s nothing more horrible, you don’t want to get things, but people view me as a much stronger person in terms of protecting our country. And you know, I’m doing very well in that regard,” Trump said in reference to polls showing him outperforming Clinton in that respect. “Frankly, I’d like to see no attacks and a perfect country. I’d like to see a president that would do a great job even if he’s a Democrat, let him do a great, great job for the country, because as I say, it’s the country first, it’s America first, but we know that’s not going to happen with Obama. He’s not going to do a great job, that we have figured out.”
Asked whether those two could help him win the presidency in that regard, Trump demurred.
“Well I can say, I can’t give you any clues or anything right now, because I do have a lot of respect for those two guys, but I have a lot of respect for others also,” Trump said. “Chris came out very early and endorsed me. I’ve gotten very good, you know, very good statements from Sen. Cotton, whose parents I know and met. I think that he is a very talented guy. He’s also a very popular, he’s a very popular person. So these are two names that I have high on the list for something at least. That I can tell you.”
Hewitt then asked whether Trump would make the unusual move of naming members of his Cabinet early before the election, suggesting names like former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl for defense secretary, former Amb. John Bolton for secretary of state or former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as CIA director.
“I think I might be inclined to do that. I don’t think that’s that unusual, though. That’s been done before, hasn’t it, Hugh?” Trump asked.
Hewitt responded, ““No, I don’t think we’ve ever had a Cabinet member name. There was a hint that Colin Powell was going to be W’s secretary of state but it was just a hint.”
“Well did they wait until after the election and then pick a Cabinet?” Trump asked, as Hewitt affirmed that to be the case. “I would be inclined. I would think it’s no great shakes. I would be inclined to do a lot of it early. You don’t have to do all of it, but a lot of it early.”
“That is great news,” Hewitt said. “I think that would really rally a lot of people to your flag.”
Hewitt and Trump have had a complex relationship throughout the primary, with the radio host earlier this month calling on the Republican National Committee to change its convention rules to allow for another nominee before reversing days later.