Sen. Jeff Sessions has been championing the same issues at the core of Donald Trump's campaign for years, but the more likely choice for Trump's running mate may be Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who made his "vice presidential audition" Tuesday night, reports say.
There's been intense speculation about Trump's vice presidential pick
, and it's expected the GOP presumptive nominee will decide Friday.
On Wednesday, Politico
ticked off all the reasons Sessions' political resume is proof-positive he'd been a Trump supporter on the issues even before Trump was in the race.
For example, Politico notes, Sessions opposed so-called amnesty efforts in immigration reform three years ago, and last year battled to sink the Trade Promotion Authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership — proposals that fired up Trump voters in old industrial towns, Politico notes.
And Sessions riled some Capitol Hill conservatives when he endorsed Trump over Sen. Ted Cruz last February, one unnamed GOP aide tells Politico.
"Trump should be grateful for him being such a good booster," one unnamed GOP senator tells Politico. "I'm not sure from a pure Electoral College standpoint that it does him much good. Jeff's been loyal and outspoken and really gone to bat for him. So I don't know what kind of premium Trump puts on that kind of attitude."
And unlike others on Trump's short-list, Sessions doesn't have to reconcile past positions with the presumptive nominee's current goals, such as retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
who has struggled to explain his position on abortion, Politico reports.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another person on Trump's v.p. short-list, has been more moderate on immigration in the past. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
considered very high on Trump's list,
has walked back from past positions on trade.
Sessions tells Politico that Republicans are finally coming around to where their base has been for years.
"If you define the party as the people who vote Republican, I think [GOP lawmakers] are getting more in tune with where the party is," he said. "That's a healthy thing."
Meanwhile, the socially conservative Pence who's still widely considered to be a more likely choice for Trump, put on an energetic performance for his "vice presidential audition" Tuesday, according to The New York Times
He even took to Trump's favorite social media platform to enumerate all the reasons Trump should occupy the White House — and to attack Hillary Clinton.
"How about this guy?" Trump asked the audience in Indiana where Pence spoke on Tuesday night. "How's your governor doing, by the way? Good? I think so, I think so."
The Times notes Pence has no political alliance with Trump, that they are social acquaintances, and that Pence endorsed another candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in the Republican primaries.
The former congressman and talk-radio host has also been a favorite of social and religious conservatives, with a record of fierce advocacy against abortion and same-sex marriage.
According to the Times, which quotes unnamed sources, there's broad agreement among Republicans close to Mr. Trump that Pence "is the lowest-risk option still under consideration."
"With Trump advisers having all but concluded that there is nothing disqualifying in Mr. Pence's record, the most important remaining hurdle for Mr. Pence may have been the event" on Tuesday night, the Times reports.
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