Speculation about the first-ever vice president from Alabama is intensifying as U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions continues to push GOP leaders in the direction of Donald Trump.
The speculation has continued at a more or less constant trickle since Sessions endorsed Trump in February — in a devastating move for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — but gained further momentum when he told The Daily Caller he “would consider” taking the VP nod if Trump offered to him,
“If I could help him in some way — and he were to ask me — I would consider it like any other citizen should,” said Sessions.
But Sessions has also been running a different, though related, sort of campaign — one to move the Republican Party in Trump’s populist direction.
Sessions, for instance, challenged legislative leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan to get with Trump’s program when it comes to trade deals and immigration.
“I think [Ryan] needs to recognize, on some of these issues, Trump is where the Republicans are and if you’re going to be a Republican leader you should be supportive of that,” said Sessions to POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast last week.
“My advice is to listen and accept the will of the American people, the Republican voters – the Republican Party is the Republican voters,” he added.
When confronted with some of the “true conservative” criticisms of Trump by Ryan, as well as “#NeverTrump” advocates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his backers, Sessions did not abide.
“Give me a break! A lot of our drift within our party has gotten away from [the will of the voters] … I think the leaders in all parties tend to adjust to reality. They just have to or they won’t remain in office … Already many are sensing it,” said Sessions.
Many national Republican leaders seem to be incessantly re-hashing 2012, said Sessions, where a fiscally conservative GOP governor sought to ascend to the White House on a sensible center-right message. Sessions said that just won’t work nowadays.
“[Mitt] Romney didn’t get beyond the numbers,” explained Sessions to POLITICO. “He couldn’t get 50 percent. Romney got killed by the under-$50,000-a-year income voter. He just got killed in that. You cannot win. You cannot be president of the United States if people below $50,000 don’t think you care about them and you have no real communication that motivates them to vote for you. And that’s the trend we’ve been on, and Trump has broken that.”
As both parties continue to fight for the growing number of middle- and low-income voters, time will tell if GOP leaders will mimic Trump’s position — and if Sessions will assume a top position in a possible Trump administration.