As he prepares to announce a running mate this week, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday met with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, his closest ally in the Senate and a potential option for vice president.
Sessions was spotted Wednesday by reporters boarding a plane to Indianapolis, Indiana and later arriving at the Conrad hotel in the city. Earlier in the day, Trump met with other potential running mates in Indianapolis, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is also believed to be under consideration).
The plot thickens…AL Sen Jeff Sessions, on Trump veep list, just boarded flight to Indiana – @SunlenSerfaty reports
— Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn) July 13, 2016
— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) July 13, 2016
A spokeswoman for Sessions, McLaurine Klingler, wouldn’t confirm Sessions’ activities, telling TheDC she “can’t discuss the senator’s schedule at this time.”
A source told The Daily Caller Trump was staying in the hotel’s 2,000 square-foot Conrad Indianapolis penthouse suite. Secret Service and Indianapolis Metro Police Department officers were also seen in the hotel. On Tuesday, Trump held an Indiana rally with Pence. The New York Times reported that a plane mechanical problem kept Trump in the state, forcing him to hold the interviews there.
Sessions, a low-key former attorney general who doesn’t harbor presidential ambitions like others being considered for president, is ideologically aligned with the candidate, especially on trade and immigration. He has also become a close adviser. He fits Trump’s desired trait of someone who knows Washington and could help him govern. A former top Sessions aide, Stephen Miller, now works for Trump’s campaign.
But the possibility of him being chosen has not gotten as much attention as other potential picks. It has seemed unlikely that Trump would actually choose Sessions for a number of reasons, including how he doesn’t bring any electoral advantage to the ticket, other than energizing Trump’s base. The 69-year old Sessions also wouldn’t be as effective as a Gingrich or Christie on the campaign trail or on cable news. His home state of Alabama is also reliably Republican, so Sessions wouldn’t help put another state in play. Democrats would also probably resurface allegations, effectively used by opponents during his failed confirmation for federal judge in the 1980s, against him.
According to a Washington Post reporter, Sessions is planning to also fly with Trump across the country to California on Wednesday.
Perhaps a sign that the Alabamian likely won’t be chosen for VP, a top communications aide to the senator on Wednesday announced he was leaving to work for a media company.
In May, Sessions told TheDC he was open to being Trump’s running mate and said: “If I could help him in some way — and he were to ask me — I would consider it like any other citizen should.”
“Can I help?” Sessions said. “Can I help the country do better if I accepted or not? But I don’t expect that to happen.”
After that report was published, Trump said: “Jeff Sessions certainly is somebody that I would consider, absolutely. He’s a fantastic person.”
Sessions does not appear to be actively pushing himself for the spot. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the senator had encouraged Trump to look at tapping a former general, like Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Interestingly, Trump has not always been so supportive of the Alabama senator. In 2002, Trump gave $1,000 to Alabama State Auditor Susan Parker, a Democrat who was running against Sessions that year.