Gov. Nathan Deal had a rather non-political answer to the rumor that surfaced this week that Donald Trump was courting him as a running mate. He didn’t dodge or duck the query, or give a cagey response.
He laughed. Heartily.
Politico reported last week that Trump had courted Deal and several other Southern governors in search of a battle-hardened Republican running-mate with executive experience, but Deal made it clear Tuesday that will never happen.
“I have no interest. I had to go up to Washington for an event yesterday … I still have a little bit of chills when I have to make that flight to and from Washington,” the two-term governor said. “I have absolutely no interest. For my first meeting with Donald Trump this past week, obviously that was not even a topic of discussion. And would not be.”
As if to emphasize the point, he added: “I am not a candidate for vice president. Period.”
Deal has only recently cozied up to Trump – he voted for Jeb Bush in Georgia’s primary – and still seems uncomfortable with his party’s nominee. More importantly, the 73-year-old has long said he would retire from politics and return to north Georgia when his term ends in January 2019. And, as evidenced by his answer, the former congressman disdains Washington.
Georgia Republicans are abuzz about another native son catapulting to the No. 2 spot. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on just about every list of potential Trump running mates.