Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador, who will be going to the national GOP convention in Cleveland as a Ted Cruz delegate, called today for Donald Trump to choose Cruz as his running mate. Labrador said that would take “the two guys who got about 70 percent of the votes in just about every primary, every caucus … and bring the team together. That would be historic, it would be something akin to what Abraham Lincoln did when he brought a team of rivals together.”
Labrador, who spoke during a monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” Q-and-A session with Washington, D.C. reporters and bloggers today under the auspices of the Heritage Foundation, said, “There’s been some sore words between the two. They just need to make up, they need to work together. And I think some of us who have hesitated a little bit, have been concerned, we know that at least a No. 2 guy is somebody who is solidly behind the Constitution and can really give him the help that he needs. … I think that would be a solid choice, and I think you could see the convention completely unify behind a ticket like that.”
Labrador’s comments came after he and other "Freedom Caucus" members were asked if they’d support moves at the convention to unbind delegates, and allow them to “vote their conscience” in order to nominate someone other than Trump. None expressed support for that idea.
“I keep hearing all these names – those people have 1 percent name I.D., nobody knows who they are,” Labrador said. “Let’s get somebody like Ted Cruz. … Then he could give Donald Trump the assistance that I think he needs on policy and on the Constitution and these other issues.” Labrador said he believes Cruz has “outsider status,” “but having already worked within the system could really bring about the change that we need in Washington, D.C.”
Cruz has not been among those talked up as a likely VP pick for Trump, who during the campaign repeatedly referred to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz, for his part, referred to Trump during the primary campaign as a "pathological liar," a "narcissist," a "serial philanderer" and "utterly amoral."
Trump met separately with House and Senate Republicans this morning. The Hill reported that he was accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and campaign manager Paul Manafort, and his meeting with House Republicans drew about 200, some of whom came away impressed and some less so. The meeting with Senate Republicans was tense and combative, the Washington Post reported.
Labrador said, “I’m not a huge fan.” But he also said, “I think he has a good gut instinct on what the American people are feeling and suffering right now.” Said Labrador, “He told us again today, once again, that he will make sure his judicial nominations go through the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. If he does everything else differently than what I would do, but just does that one thing … that will have an impact for a generation. … Because if not, we’re going to lose the America that we know today, if we have Hillary Clinton.”
Most of the recent speculation on Trump’s likely pick of a running mate has Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich as the leading contenders.