Moments after it was learned that Tennessee Senator Bob Corker told Donald Trump he is not interested in being vice-president, another person believed to be a top contender for the spot has basically withdrawn their name from consideration.
First-term Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who is also a retired colonel in the National Guard, was said to be on Trump’s short-list in the race for the veepstakes. During an interview with POLITICO, Ernst shared that while she is interested in helping Trump win the presidency, beyond that she is focused on Iowa and serving in the Senate.
Ernst said she’s “just getting started” and reportedly shared that message with Trump when they met on Monday.
“I made that very clear to him that I’m focused on Iowa. I feel that I have a lot more to do in the United States Senate. And Iowa is where my heart is,” Ernst said Wednesday. “I’m just getting started here. I have a great partner with Chuck Grassley, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And I think that President Trump will need some great assistance in the United States Senate and I can provide that.”
In regards to the role she will play in the Trump campaign, Ernst, who added that she has not received vetting papers from Trump, said, “I will probably participate more as an advocate. I would love to assist him out on the trail.”
Two individuals who are reported to have received vetting papers are former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Another name that has been tossed out in speculation of being the VP running mate is Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Senator Ernst enthusiastically spoke of Pence sharing that his blend of both executive and legislative experience makes him a solid choice. She added, “I will admit that I am a Mike Pence fan. He is so well rounded, served as a governor and I think he’s a great conservative. So I don’t think he could go wrong.”
Although she shared with Trump that she is focused on Iowa and believes she would be a asset in the Senate for a President Trump, Ernst was given a primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention which will be held in Cleveland later this month. Although the full speakers list will be announced on Thursday, it was announced that Ernst will deliver a speech on national security.