Trump Says Gov. Abbott, Who Doesn’t Want to Be Vice President, Is “Absolutely” a Contender for Vice President

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is “absolutely” on Trump’s short list of potential running mates, the former president told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday.ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.Trump is considering Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as a potential running mate, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday—even though Abbott has said that he doesn’t want the job. 
When Hannity asked Trump if Abbott was on his short list during a joint interview with the two politicians in Eagle Pass, Texas—the epicenter of the fight between Texas and the feds over control of the border—the former president said yes.
“He’s a spectacular man,” Trump said of Abbott, praising him for endorsing his reelection campaign. 
“Certainly he would be somebody that I would very much consider,” Trump added later. 
Abbott, meanwhile, sat there nodding and smiling and presumably feeling awkward given that just last week he told CNN that “there’s so many people other than myself who are best situated” to the role. 
After the interview, Abbott reiterated his disinterest, according to the Texas Tribune. “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,” Abbott said at a press conference today, according to the Tribune. “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.” 
According to the Tribune, Trump also awkwardly floated Abbott as a potential replacement for outgoing Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell—even though, as the Tribune notes, Abbott isn’t in the Senate. The governor was also (surprise, surprise) not interested in a role he cannot take: “I’d rather be governor of Texas,” Abbott told Trump.
But the two share a hardline anti-immigrant stance that, if Abbott changed his mind, could make their joint ticket attractive to many voters within the GOP.
In January, Trump urged states to send troops to the southern border to curb illegal immigration, and pledged in a Truth Social rant that, if reelected, he would “work hand in hand with Governor Abbott” to enact what he called “the Largest Domestic Deportation Operation in History.” (As my colleague Isabela Dias reported, many of Trump’s proposals are both terrifying and legally dubious.) Abbott has used similarily caustic rhetoric, telling a right-wing radio host earlier this year that “the only thing that we are not doing is we’re not shooting people who come across the border—because, of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.” (Those remarks earned him widespread condemnation from Democrats, as I reported at the time.)
Besides Abbott, other rumored Trump veep contenders include Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio). NBC News reported last month that Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) had shot to the top of Trump’s short list, and reported this week that Alabama Sen. Katie Britt (R)—who will deliver the GOP response to Biden’s State of the Union address next week—is also on the list. 
In yesterday’s interview, Trump told Hannity that Scott has been “a surrogate…he’s done a very good job.”