From VP Hype to Migrant Bashing, Trump’s Noise Machine Is on Full Blast

Carol Guzy/ZUMA

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Former President Donald Trump claims he has picked his running mate. He’s not revealing who that person is yet, of course.

Trump told CNN and NBC on Saturday that he has not yet told the lucky winner of his decision, but noted that he expects the person will be at his first debate of this election cycle with President Joe Biden on Thursday night. He added that he plans to announce the pick around the time of the Republican National Convention, which is slated to begin July 15—just four days after he is scheduled to be sentenced in the New York hush-money case in which he was convicted on 34 felony counts of fraud.

As Mother Jones has reported, Trump’s reported VP contenders have included Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) (before her disastrous book rollout in which she admitted to killing her puppy and lied about meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, that is). These apparent contenders have spent the past few months doing TV interviews to seemingly audition for the role: by defending Trump, questioning the results of the 2020 election, and refusing to commit to certifying this year’s results no matter who wins. NBC News reported Friday that Vance, Rubio, and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-N.D.)—who claims that the US is a “dictatorship” under Biden—are allegedly among the top contenders.

The veep hype, though, is on the tamer side with the latest from Trump. Speaking to a gathering of Christian conservatives on Saturday, he repeated his long-running and disproven conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was “rigged” as well as his pledge to “begin the largest deportation operation in American history.” He urged the audience to “Vote, Christians!”

Trump also said in his campaign speech that he told Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, that White should start a “migrant league of fighters” to showcase what Trump depicted as the brutality of migrants. “I said, ‘Dana, I have an idea. Why don’t you set up a migrant league of fighters and have your regular league of fighters, and then you have the champion of your league—these are the greatest fighters in the world—fight the champion of the migrants.’ I think the migrant guy might win, that’s how tough they are. He didn’t like that idea too much.” He also repeated in his speech his long-running claim that undocumented immigrants are supposedly coming from “prisons and mental institutions,” according to the Washington Post.

The Biden campaign said in a statement that Trump’s latest comments were part of an “incoherent, unhinged tirade.” They add to Trump’s ongoing dehumanizing of migrants, who he has called “vermin” and said are “poisoning the blood of our country”—comments that scholars have said echo Nazi rhetoric. Trump reportedly plans to enact an anti-immigration “blitz” if re-elected, as my colleague Dan Friedman has detailed.

It’s hard to predict what will happen at this Thursday’s debate, let alone by the November vote, but one thing is pretty certain: Trump will continue to crank up the ugly campaign noise the rest of the way.