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Abbott on Trump VP short list: I’m staying in Texas

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(The Center Square) – At a border event in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday, former president Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was on his shortlist for vice presidential candidates he was considering.

But Abbott said he is focused on the March 5 primary race where many school choice candidates he’s endorsed are running.

The two Republican leaders spoke with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who asked Trump if he’d consider Abbott as his vice president.

“I’ve been hearing that more and more from friends of mine,” Trump said. “He’s a spectacular man. I was honored when I got his endorsement seven months ago and I likewise endorsed him. … He’s done a great job [and] yes, certainly, he would be somebody that I would very much consider.”

“So he’s on the list?” Hannity asked.

“Absolutely, he is,” Trump replied.

At the event before the interview, Trump joked that Abbott should be the next Republican leader of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, had recently announced he was stepping down from the position.

Abbott replied, “I’d rather be the governor of Texas.”

The next day at a press conference in Austin when asked about the vice president suggestion, Abbott said, “Obviously it’s very nice of him to say, but I think you all know that my focus is entirely on the state of Texas. As you know, I’m working right now on the midterm election process. I’ve already talked about that I’ve announced that I’m running for reelection two years from now, and so my commitment is to Texas and I’m staying in Texas.”

At a Fox News townhall held a week before he came to Texas, Laura Ingraham also asked Trump about his VP pick. She asked if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Florida, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy were on his VP short list. He replied, “They are.”

“You would like to get somebody that could help you from the voter standpoint,” Trump said of his thought process. He said he was considering a running mate who agrees with him on a wide range of issues, starting with border security. “I always say I want people with common sense because there’s so many things happening in this country that don’t make sense,” he added.

Both have blamed President Joe Biden for creating the border crisis and ignoring it when Biden visited Brownsville on the same day that Trump was with Abbott in Eagle Pass.

Biden has called on Congress to meet his demands, saying he needs additional resources to secure the border. Abbott and Trump have both said he already has the authority to secure the border, including following and implementing existing law.

Abbott said Biden’s “open border policies have made our southern border the deadliest in the world,” and in response “Texas stepped up to defend our state against this invasion. We continue to send a clear message with our historic efforts to the cartels and the entire world: Don’t Mess With Texas.”

According to recent national and statewide polls, the majority of Americans and Texans, including Black and Hispanic Texans, support Trump border policies. The majority said they support building a border wall and other barriers and deploying additional state police and military resources to the southwest border.