Elections

Could Retired Gen. Michael Flynn Be Trump’s Dark Horse VP Pick?

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Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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If Donald Trump plans to surprise the public with a dark horse vice presidential pick, there’s a good chance it will be retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn.

Noting Trump’s recent and planned campaign stops with potential vice presidential candidates, The New York Times compared Trump’s vice presidential vetting process to the reality TV show he once starred in.

[dcquiz] “Mr. Trump’s approach to choosing a vice president — publicly testing them in the court of public opinion — feels oddly similar to the approach the candidate took on his reality television show, ‘The Apprentice,'” the Times wrote in an article titled “Donald Trump’s New Reality Show: The Running Mate.”

“Moving away from his initial hope to unveil the running mate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland starting on July 18, Mr. Trump is instead maximizing the drama, and public attention, around his vice-presidential selection process,” the story went on.

In the last week, Trump has campaigned or held publicly announced meetings with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He also took to Twitter to favorably comment on Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s Sunday performance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” All those names are said to be on Trump’s VP short list, though both Corker and Ernst indicated Wednesday that they preferred to remain in the Senate.

But as Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol noted on Twitter, the “[k]ey to good reality TV is misdirection and surprise.” If Trump is attempting to misdirect the media’s attention in order to create a dramatic VP selection moment, who is the dark horse candidate he intends to “wow” America with?

Enter Gen. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency forced out of his job by the Obama administration in 2014.

The New York Post reported Monday that Flynn is among those being vetted for Trump’s ticket.

“One of the things I expect Mr. Trump would look for in a vice president is discretion,” Flynn told The Post when asked about the possibility of being Trump’s vice presidential nominee.

Trump himself admitted on Fox News Wednesday that there were two generals on his vice presidential short list.

“I like the generals,” he said. “I like the concept of the generals. Actually, there are two of them that are under consideration.”

He added, as he has in the past, that he is mainly looking for a politician who can help him work with Congress to pass his agenda, but he still left open the possibility of someone from the military.

“We really were looking to go more the political route in terms of getting legislation passed, which is what they do. And I think, frankly, we don’t want to do the executive orders, like Obama’s been doing,” he said. “So I really been thinking more in terms of the politicians, but we’re looking at two generals.”

Flynn is most famous for predicting the rise of the Islamic State while head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Since being forced out of the post in 2014, he has regularly criticized President Obama’s foreign policy to the media.

Back in January, Bloomberg first reported that the retired general was advising Trump on foreign policy.

“This guy is really switched on and has a strong understanding of what’s going on in the world,” Flynn told Bloomberg then. “I walked away with a much stronger impression of him than I had previously.”

On Tuesday, after FBI director James Comey slammed Hillary Clinton’s handing of classified information as secretary of state but declined to recommend that the Department of Justice indict her, Flynn savaged Clinton on Twitter.

He even posted a tweet that could be seen as foreshadowing a Trump-Flynn ticket.

Field of Fight” is the name of Flynn’s book, co-authored with Michael Ledeen, set for release next week.

While Flynn isn’t talking directly about the possibility of joining Trump’s ticket, he isn’t entirely shying away from the subject. He tweeted the New York Post’s story about the Trump campaign vetting him for the post earlier this week.

Flynn’s son and chief of staff has also been re-tweeting all the VP speculation about his father.

If Trump does pick Flynn to be his running mate, one issue that will certainly arise is Flynn’s trip last December to Moscow to attend a gala dinner for the Russian-funded propaganda network RT. Flynn was seen sitting at the head table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But it’s hard to imagine this biographical detail will be an issue for Trump. The Donald has repeatedly spoken warmly of Putin on the campaign trail.

“Gen. Flynn, a registered Democrat, would provide a ‘bi-partisan’ ticket which shows Mr. Trump’s willingness to cross the aisle and ‘get things done,'” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide who believes Trump should pick Flynn for his VP, told The Daily Caller in an email.

It would be “[c]ampaign malpractice not to select him,” he added.

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