As Donald Trump’s top campaign aides began a discussion in June 2016 about who the presumptive Republican presidential nominee should select as his running mate, the candidate piped up with an idea.
“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?”
Trump asked the assembled group, according to a new book by his former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates set to be published Oct. 13.

Trump added: “She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!”
In Gates’s telling, Trump’s suggestion of naming to the ticket his then-34-year-old daughter — a fashion and real estate executive who had never held elected office — was no passing fancy.

Instead, he brought up the idea repeatedly over the following weeks, trying to sell his campaign staff on the idea, insisting she would be embraced by the Republican base, Gates writes.

Trump was so taken with the concept of his eldest daughter as his vice president — and so cool to other options, including his eventual selection, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — that his team polled the idea twice, according to Gates.

It was Ivanka Trump who finally ended the conversation, Gates writes, going to her father to tell him it wasn’t a good idea. Trump eventually came around and selected Pence, after the governor won him over by delivering a “vicious and extended monologue” about Bill and Hillary Clinton at a get-to-know-you breakfast later that summer, according to Gates’s account.

This is not true and there was never any such poll,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, said Monday.

In an interview last week, Gates said he is not certain Trump would actually have gone through with making his daughter his running mate.
But he said he included the anecdote in his new book, first reported by Bloomberg News, as a prime example of the kind of unconventional thinking he believes made Trump an appealing candidate.

While others might see the episode as a distasteful symbol of Trump’s nepotism, Gates said it shows Trump’s commitment to family, loyalty and ensuring those around him support his agenda and not their own — “the values and assets that Trump cared most about,” he said.

The account in Gates’s book — “Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost” — is one of several that he cites in praise of his former boss as he describes working on the campaign and ultimately becoming ensnared in the special counsel investigation that consumed much of Trump’s presidency.

Unlike a number of other memoirs by former Trump staffers, Gates’s book serves not as a tell-all, but rather a defense of the president and how he and others helped elect him.
In an interview, Gates said he believes Trump has been a good president — “the most decisive president we’ve had probably since Eisenhower” — and says he supports his reelection.
After working on the 2016 campaign and helping organize the inauguration, Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy against the United States and lying to federal investigators in relation to lobbying work he and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had done in Ukraine before joining Trump’s team.