Will Ben Carson Be Donald Trump's Vice President? He & Chris Christie Could Battle It Out
Friday morning, former GOP presidential contender Ben Carson publicly endorsed front-runner Donald Trump in a press conference from one of Trump's luxury clubs, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida. The retired neurosurgeon was the second ex-candidate to back Trump, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pledged his support for the real estate tycoon on Feb. 26. Christie's endorsement seemed like an attempt to secure the position of Trump's running mate, and Carson's sudden support could be the same. If both men are gunning for the spot, is Carson or Christie more likely to be Trump's VP?
With every passing primary and caucus, it's becoming more and more possible that the businessman will win the GOP's nomination, and he has refused to say who he would ask to run alongside him in November. During the press conference announcing Christie's endorsement, both Republicans said they hadn't discussed a Trump-Christie 2016 ticket; however, Trump did say, "We did not talk about it, but he certainly has a lot of talent," leaving the possibility open. Similarly, Trump explained during Carson's endorsement announcement that he hadn't promised the doctor a future job in his potential administration, but said Carson would play a "big, big part" in his campaign. A big, big part like running as his vice president?
Naturally, presidential candidates choose running mates who share their beliefs and vision for the country, while also appealing to demographics that they can't necessarily win over on their own. So, let's take a look at which man is a better match for Trump.
Christie and Trump have very similar temperaments — namely, channeling all their energy and anger into yelling. They also agree on most issues, from immigration to tax reform. Trump's pledge to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexican border (and somehow make Mexico pay for it) is a huge part of his campaign, and Christie has also advocated for building walls along the border, though not all the way across like his potential running mate. Both men have changed their position on abortion over the years, once being pro-choice and switching to pro-life after personal experiences they say opened their eyes. Now, they strongly oppose abortion, with the exception of cases of rape and incest.
While sharing the basic conservative ideologies as well, Carson and Trump agree slightly less. In terms of immigration, Carson's campaign called for securing the border and addressing illegal immigration, but never advocated for building a wall of any kind. In contrast to Trump's tax plan that would simplify the code to only four tax brackets, Carson outlined a plan for a 14.9 percent flat tax nationwide. Carson has always been pro-life, and — unlike Trump — doesn't even support exemptions for victims of rape or incest.
Carson's strong pro-life stance and unwavering religious beliefs could help Trump win over Evangelical Republicans that Ted Cruz is currently trying to secure for himself. On top of that, the retired neurosurgeon is a political outsider like Trump, so a Trump-Carson ticket would further play into some Republicans' desire for non-politicians in Washington.
At the same time though, Trump has said that he wants a vice president with some political experience to make up for his lack of know-how. "I do want somebody that's political, because I want to get lots of great legislation we all want passed," he said during a Q&A at Regent University in February. This statement, along with Christie's closer alignment with Trump's values, makes him a better fit for Trump's campaign. Trump can be pretty unpredictable though, so his choice for a vice presidential candidate could come out of left field.