Back in 1999 when Donald Trump pondered running for president as a Reform Party candidate in the 2000 election, he said he would want his running mate to be Oprah Winfrey.
“Oprah. I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice,” Trump said in a 1999 interview on CNN. “If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic. I mean, she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman. I mean, if she ever does it. I don’t know if she would ever do it. She’s got, you know. She would be sort of like me.”
A lot has changed since then. Oprah wouldn’t be his first choice. But a talk show host doesn’t seem to be out of the question. At least a couple might even have the background to be vice president.
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has popped up in my writing, as well as a few others, as a speculative running mate for Donald Trump. Possible, and we’ll come back to that.
But Trump intrinsically trusts talk show hosts. He was sort of one himself since The Apprentice was sort of a hybrid talk and reality show. He named pundits to high posts in his administration like John Bolton and Sebastion Gorka.
But a vice president would be a step above a panelist, or a host.
Let’s suppose that Trump decides to limit his shortlist for a running mate to talk show hosts. Only these five would likely make the cut.
Mark Levin is perhaps the only person in the media that can provide an intellectual ride through history and philosophy, then tear into liberals for destroying the country.
Levin would be entirely qualified to be the vice president. He was the chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese in the 1980s. Before that, Levin was the deputy associate attorney general and was also the Interior Department’s deputy solicitor.
Had he chosen to stick around the government or the political arena after the Reagan administration–who knows how far he might have gone? Instead, he eventually became head of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative public interest law firm, a legal commentator on TV and radio shows in the 1990s, a talk radio host in the early 2000s, and eventually a Fox News TV host.
In the early days, Levin was anti-Trump and strongly opposed the nomination. He was skeptical of Trump as the nominee – but accepted the reality of a binary choice as much as he did with John McCain or Mitt Romney.
But Levin became impressed with Donald Trump’s record of racking up conservative policy victories and also gave hefty legal expertise to defend Trump against partisan witch hunts.
Jeanine Pirro most assuredly doesn’t provide the intellectual heft of Levin. But she has had electoral experience and legal knowledge.
The Fox News weekend host has been a judge and a prosecutor in New York state.
In 1990, Pirro was elected as the first woman to be a judge in Westchester County. Pirro was elected Westchester County District Attorney in 1993. New York Gov. George Pataki appointed Pirro in 1997 to be chairwoman of the New York State Commission on Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board in 1997.
Lou Dobbs doesn’t even have a major cable gig anymore. What value could he bring, you might ask.
Keep in mind, we are relatively speaking in the context of a limited pool of talkers that could be veeps.
For one, Trump melts for loyalty above all else. Dobbs lost his job with Fox at least in part for going all in on “stop the steal.”
But, Dobbs – beyond being a journalist and commentator – has experience in corporate leadership roles while at CNN.
He was the former executive vice president of CNN and a founding executive of CNNFN.
The Guardian once suggested Tucker Carlson as a potential running mate for Trump.
There is the little thing about those text messages where Tucker actually used the word “hate” to describe his feelings for Trump.
But, as I said before, it would be the ultimate stick-it-to-the-man ticket to cause weeping and wailing from all the left and a good portion of the right.
Sean Hannity’s show is not a lot more than wallowing in partisanship and Trumpism. That could be enough if Trump truly limited his pool of candidates to talk show hosts.
Hannity is pro-Trump no matter what. Hannity is to Trump what the rest of the media was to Barack Obama; in the words of Bernie Goldberg, “A Slobbering Love Affair.”
Of course, Trump won’t likely limit his choices just to talk show hosts, but all these folks know how to speak to big crowds and have the instant accountability of good ratings. So, it would make an interesting campaign.
Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie.