WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Donald Trump has narrowed down his vice presidential shortlist to as little as three or four names. Most of them raise red flags for a key Trump constituency: people who want tighter immigration controls.
Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter’s book Adios America has been credited with convincing Trump, who once criticized Mitt Romney’s “mean-spirited” and “maniacal” talk of encouraging illegal immigrants to self-deport, to become more hawkish on immigration and make it his signature issue.
“Perhaps no single writer has had such immediate impact on a presidential election since Harriet Beecher Stowe,” is how David Frum hyperbolically put it.
Coulter argued in a recent column that Trump’s vice presidential pick was likely to be his first mistake. “I knew this would happen as soon as he hired campaign consultants, rather than relying on his gut,” she wrote. “If these campaign consultants were any good, their first piece of advice to Trump would be ‘Fire us immediately!'”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have all supported immigration reforms regarded as amnesty by restrictionist conservatives. For this reason, Coulter gives them all failing grades.
“Gingrich lobbied for the instant legalization of illegals because his benefactor, superglue heiress Helen Krieble, needed cheap labor for her horse farm,” she wrote, later adding, “Pence’s big immigration initiative was mass legalization for cheap foreign workers if they went home first, with any employer request bringing them right back.”
The author of the forthcoming book In Trump We Trust pointed out that Christie’s temporary appointee to the U.S. Senate backed the Gang of Eight immigration bill, “after Sen. Chuck Schumer convinced Christie to support amnesty in a single phone call.”
These apostasies have attracted the attention of other immigration hardliners. Mickey Kaus has been a critic of both Pence and Gingrich. The former House speaker helped sink the recommendations of Barbara Jordan’s bipartisan reform commission, which would have cut immigration by about a third.
Policy disagreements on a party’s presidential ticket aren’t uncommon, occasionally even on issues central to the campaign. George H.W. Bush memorably described Ronald Reagan’s supply-side agenda as “voodoo economics” during the 1980 Republican primary campaign before winding up as the Gipper’s running mate.
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