As the primaries begin to wind down and the general election starts to ramp up, sources close to Donald Trump have said that the former president has considered going outside of the Republican Party to nab a running mate.
Last August, during one of his podcasts, Trump adviser Steve Bannon said he believed Robert Kennedy, Jr. should be the former president’s vice president.
“We stay maniacally focused in the general — particularly as, remember, the firestorm of the lawfare will start next spring with him,” Bannon said on the podcast, referring to Trump. “If you can walk through that, which you can do — you can walk through that fire … and I think get 55 percent or more of the country.”
Bannon continued: “If somehow it worked out [that] you could get Kennedy as a running mate — and I don’t know, that is far from even technically can happen because of the structure of the Democratic and Republican parties and ballot access and all that — you could get 60 percent or higher in the country and win a massive landslide.”
Now, sources close to the Trump campaign have said the possibility of a Trump-Kennedy unity ticket is more real than one would think.
“Trump operatives expressed an interest in Kennedy early on, but it was all premature,” said one person familiar with the matter, adding that it was “right out of the box when Bobby announced” in April 2023 he was running for president.
“Anything’s possible. I wouldn’t write it off by any means,” the insider told The New York Post.
A second large donor to both Trump and Kennedy said the movement to draft Kennedy — the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who was assassinated while campaigning for president in 1968 in Los Angeles — is still alive in Trump circles.
“It’s very much behind the scenes at this stage. As we progress you might see it bubble up a little bit more,” the donor said. “Bobby can bring new people to the polls.”
NewsNation spoke to RFK, Jr. about the possibility of joining a Trump ticket. The independent candidate revealed that Trump’s team reached out to him about possibly serving as veep, but said, “I would not take that job. And I’m flattered that President Trump would offer it to me, but it’s not something that I’m interested in.”
Last week, Trump and RFK both came out in support of Texas as the Lone Star State has had a showdown with Biden over enforcing immigration laws.
The outlet continued, “Kennedy addressed a packed crowd at his rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Saturday. Speaking to NewsNation’s Rich McHugh about his campaign beforehand, he addressed his views on the crisis at the southern border.
‘I believe that under the Constitution, Texas has the right to defend its border. Under Article Four of the Constitution, the U.S. has the obligation to defend states against invasions by a foreign country. As president of the United States I would be defending it, Texas wouldn’t have to do it,’ RFK Jr. said.
RFK Jr. previously opposed Trump’s plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but now says his views have changed.
‘When I went down and saw the border, my mind completely shifted about what’s happening down there. And we don’t need a border wall from 2,200 miles from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego. You definitely need a physical barrier in certain parts of the border,’ he added.”
Trump advisers responded to the New York Post article by denying that RFK, Jr. had ever been in the running. Senior Trump adviser Chris LaCivita took to Twitter to bat down the idea.
This is 100% FAKE NEWS – NO ONE from the Trump Campaign ever approached RFK jr (or ever will) – one of the most LIBERAL and radical environmentalists in the country. For all the fake news- update your stories. https://t.co/HYBJLqSux0
— Chris LaCivita (@LaCivitaC) January 28, 2024
Trump is likely better off if RFK, Jr. stays running as an indepedent. Earlier in the month, The Hill noted, “Former President Trump beats President Biden with independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on a hypothetical 2024 ballot, according to a new poll.
The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll showed Trump leading Biden by 7 points in a one-on-one match-up 48 percent to 41 percent, respectively.
Trump’s lead rose slightly to 8 points with Kennedy added into the mix. In that hypothetical three-way race, Trump scored 41 percent to Biden’s 33 percent, while Kennedy raked in 18 percent.”