On VP Choice, Trump Torn Between Mr. Right and a Pair of Bad Boys

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Over the past two weeks, Donald Trump has been auditioning potential running mates in a process that many have likened to his old reality show, The Apprentice. But The Bachelor may be a better analogue.

On Tuesday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that his favorite remaining veepstakes contestants are Indiana governor Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and nationally recognized man-servant Chris Christie. According to the New York Times, Pence is the consensus choice among the mogul’s advisers and Washington Republicans working on his campaign. And it isn’t hard to see why: Christie and Gingrich are audacious loudmouths shrouded in scandal, picks that would bring redundant strengths and weaknesses to a ticket headlined by Trump.

Pence, by contrast, is a bag of day-old white bread — bland and unappetizing, but unlikely to upset anyone’s stomach, and held in high regard by social conservatives. The Indiana governor boasts congressional experience, a conventional political style, and a résumé free of major ethics violations. He’s the running mate Trump knows he should want. Per the Times:

Last weekend, during a fund-raising event in the Hamptons, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Pence as a successful governor who is known and respected in Washington. He had more equivocal words for some other potential running mates: Mr. Gingrich, he said, is a fearless attack dog but has “issues,” according to people present for Mr. Trump’s remarks.

On Tuesday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that his favorite remaining veepstakes contestants are Indiana governor Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and nationally recognized man-servant Chris Christie. According to the New York Times, Pence is the consensus choice among the mogul’s advisers and Washington Republicans working on his campaign. And it isn’t hard to see why: Christie and Gingrich are audacious loudmouths shrouded in scandal, picks that would bring redundant strengths and weaknesses to a ticket headlined by Trump.

Pence, by contrast, is a bag of day-old white bread — bland and unappetizing, but unlikely to upset anyone’s stomach, and held in high regard by social conservatives. The Indiana governor boasts congressional experience, a conventional political style, and a résumé free of major ethics violations. He’s the running mate Trump knows he should want. Per the Times:

But the mogul doesn’t know if he’s ready to settle down with “Mr. Right.” Trump tells the Journal that he wants a partner “skilled in hand-to-hand combat,” a man who won’t be afraid to put up his dukes to defend the Donald’s honor. Trump wants a fighter. And for all their faults, the mogul knows that Christie and Gingrich fit that bill, telling the Journal he considers both men “extraordinary warriors.” Plus, he has “chemistry” with these bad boys — and that’s something that can’t be faked.

You either have it or you don’t,” Trump told the paper. “I clearly have it with Chris and Newt.”

How’s your governor doing, by the way?” Trump asked the crowd. “Good? I think so, I think so.”

On Wednesday, Trump brought his campaign manager, two of his children, and his New York Observer owner to a meeting at Pence’s residence. They left without making any comment to the media.

Meanwhile, Fox News has suspended Gingrich’s role as a contributor. He will resume his post at the network, should he be eliminated from the veepstakes.

There remain a few dark-horse contenders, including Alabama senator Jeff Sessions — among the most ideologically Trumpian Republicans on Capitol Hill — and pro-choice, pro-Putin retired general Michael Flynn.

But the consensus of current reporting is that Trump is torn between Pence and his pair of scandal-plagued "extraordinary warriors" — which is to say, between his head and his heart.

Just two more days until the final rose ceremony.