Scott Brown may get a nice job in a Donald Trump administration — but not vice president.
That’s my takeaway from spending some time with Trump last week. I believe the top two contenders for veep are U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, because those are the two names Trump mentioned to me on the flight from Boston to Bangor, Maine.
He wasn’t soliciting my input, we were just making small talk. First he asked me who I liked. This was just after takeoff, and I’d been in the cockpit. The pilot of his 757 looks like Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of Trump’s earliest supporters. So I mentioned Sessions.
“He’s a great guy,” Trump said. “But I’m going to win Alabama by 20 anyway.”
So then I said Scott Brown, who had been at the fundraiser at the Langham Hotel in Boston an hour or so earlier.
“He’s a great guy too,” Trump said. “But I need somebody who’s in office right now.”
That’s when he mentioned Ernst and Pence. And since then, he’s met with both of them and their families in New Jersey. Both of them would bring a lot to the GOP ticket, more than Brown — sorry, Scott.
The next day, I had Trump on my radio show, so I asked him more about the two people whose names he’d brought up. When he first mentioned her, I hadn’t known that Ernst had flown to Sea Island, Ga., in March for the American Enterprise Institute’s World Forum — which had briefly been Ground Zero of the Never Trump movement. Seems odd that she would now be on his short list after hobnobbing with the likes of Karl Rove, Rich Lowry and assorted other Beautiful People.
“Really?” he said when I mentioned it. “Well, I don’t think that means much now. A lot of people have come around since then.”
True enough. At the Langham, Trump blew a wet kiss to Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets. Back at New Year’s, in Palm Beach, Fla., Johnson and Dolphins owner Steve Ross were raising beaucoup bucks for the low-energy Jeb Bush. Now Johnson is the Donald’s BFF.
Ernst helps Trump with at least three groups — women, veterans and Midwesterners. As for Pence, he has governmental experience, legislative (Congress) and executive. Plus he’s tight with the evangelicals.
“He almost endorsed me before the primary,” Trump said Thursday. Not that Trump needed any help in Indiana besides Bobby Knight, the legendary Indiana University basketball coach who stumped the state with him.
This weekend, another of the Never Trump diehards, magazine publisher William Kristol, tweeted that he’d heard that Trump would like a running mate with a one-syllable last name — that Trump somehow thinks that one syllable conveys strength.
For once this year Kristol may be on to something — Pence, Ernst, Brown, even the governor of Florida, who occasionally hangs out at Mar-A-Lago, Rick Scott. All one-syllable surnames.
As for the other mentionables, Newt Gingrich is good on TV. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But like Trump, he’s been married three times. I know it’s a new day but how much is too much of a good thing? Newt for White House chief of staff.
Gov. Chris Christie did suicide-bomb Marco Rubio before the New Hampshire primary. Trump owes him.
But it’s hard to forget Christie’s bear hug of Obama after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It may not be quite a deal-breaker, but it’s close. Christie for attorney general.
As for Brown, what could President Trump give him that he would want — really want, that is? Chairmanship of the SEC, ambassador to Bonn — Brown doesn’t strike me as much of a bureaucrat, shuffling papers, sending emails to middle management.
When he signed with Fox News, the word was that Brown was going to be the permanent male host of “Outnumbered” with four gorgeous babes at noon every weekday.
Somehow that never worked out, although he does occasionally fill the chair.
So maybe Brown could ask President Trump to make a call for him to Roger Ailes. Long-term, “Outnumbered” would be a better gig for Scott Brown than the FCC or even the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Certainly better scenery.
Listen to Howie 3-7 p.m. on WRKO AM 680.
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