Al’s Afternoon Tea: Does GOP Platform Give Us a Hint Who Trump’s Running Mate Will Be?

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance

By Al Perrotta Published on July 10, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea. We’re serving up some juicy speculation today. 

So Who’s the VP Pick? We Think We Know

Who is Donald Trump’s running mate going to be? According to the New York Post, the choice has narrowed to two: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ohio Senator J.D. Vance — barring any last-minute surprises. (Which, when you’re dealing with Trump, is no surprise.)

Of the two, Burgum brings more practical, managerial experience as a successful businessman-turned-governor, and the Trumps apparently have developed a great affection for Burgum and his wife. However, MAGA world is suspicious of him: he doesn’t have the fighting spirit Trump will need to take some of the heat, and as the pleasant, little-known governor of a small state, he doesn’t add any juice to the campaign.

Vance may be a first-term senator, but he graduated from Yale Law School, is a military veteran, is very sharp, and his gift for vivisecting snooty liberal journalists is a sight to behold. He is also bestselling author. (Having a bestselling author debate a lady who is famous for her word salads would be worth the price of admission alone.)

However, what Vance wrote about is the key. His book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is a passionate ode to the struggling working class, from which he came. A passionate defense of the forgotten men and women of America. Speaking for and working for the nation’s forgotten is his lane, his heart, his fight.

The GOP platform, released yesterday, is dedicated to the “forgotten men and women of America.”

If that’s where Trump is standing, then Vance is the one standing beside him.  If platform is prophecy, then Vance is the pick.  

What’s Going On in Trump World?

Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet since the June 27 presidential debate, not wanting to distract from the chaos on Biden’s side of the street. But with the Republican National Convention days away, it sounds like he is ready to rumble again. Last night, at a large rally at his Dural golf course in Florida, Trump offered Biden a mulligan: a chance for another debate this week.

“I’m officially offering Joe the chance to redeem himself in front of the entire world,” he said. “Let’s do another debate this week so that Sleepy Joe Biden can prove to everyone all over the world that he has what it takes to be president!” 

In a callback to one of the most bizarre exchanges from the debate, Trump challenged Biden to an 18-hole golf match at Dural, with $1 million for Biden’s favorite charity on the line. Trump said he’d even spot Biden ten strokes. (Though these days it’s not a good idea to put the words “Biden” and “stroke” in the same sentence.)

The Biden camp immediately rejected the challenge, claiming the president is “too busy” to accept As if. He only works from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and his daily schedule is usually as blank as his debate stare. In fact, Trump noted in his speech that as 50% of Americans say they are cutting back on vacation plans because of inflation this summer, Biden has spent 50% of his presidency either on vacation or at his Delaware properties.

What’s Going On in Biden World?

Joe Biden is hosting Day Two of the NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., which, of course, can mean only one thing: more U.S. aid for Ukraine — dozens of air defense systems, as it happens. The president did manage to get through a 15-minute speech Tuesday evening without catastrophe, which allowed Reuters to call it “forceful” and The Economist to call it “fiery.”

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But why is Russia in Ukraine in the first place? While searching for a particular story from a couple years ago, I came upon a forgotten bit of business. In January 2022, Biden gave a press conference that was an utter mess. (That’s one reason a Biden press conference comes along about as often as Halley’s Comet, though he is supposed to give one tomorrow.)

During that 2022 presser, as Russian troops were gathering along the Ukrainian border, Biden said: “Russia will be held accountable if it invades. It depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc. But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing … it’s gonna be a disaster for Russia…” 

To Kiev’s ears and to Putin’s, this meant Biden was fine with a small invasion, and since Russia was “capable” of nuking Ukraine, anything short of that could be seen as a “minor incursion.” The White House then had to had to frantically backpedal on that statement, along with many others from the press conference. But did Biden’s statement contribute to Putin’s calculus in invading Ukraine?

In any event, that disastrous presser demonstrated Biden wasn’t playing with a full deck. That was 30 months ago. And the press wants to act as if Biden’s mental state is a surprise now?

George Stephanopoulos Admits Biden Can’t Complete Another Term

Meanwhile, in a moment of surprising candor, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos admitted in a street conversation captured by TMZ, “I don’t think he can serve four more years.” That’s Stephanopoulos’s assessment after sitting down with Biden for their interview last Friday.

Unfortunately, party man that he is, Stephanopoulos caved within hours. Last night, after the clip went viral, the anchor apologized. “Earlier today I responded to a passerby. I shouldn’t have.” ABC News had its own statement, saying the host “expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News.”

But why isn’t it the position of ABC News? Your main man was in the room with the president.

Seems now that it’s clear that Joe Biden is refusing to budge and the Democrats are stuck with him as their nominee, so the media is moving back into protection mode.

Help From the Family: Barron Trump and Marla Maples Are All In

Yesterday, for the first time, Trump introduced his son Barron at a rally. The strapping 18-year-old received a standing ovation. Barron is reportedly eager to help his dad in the campaign. That’ll be an interesting contrast: Barron Trump vs. Hunter Biden.

Barron can allegedly speak five languages. Then again, Hunter likely can proposition a hooker in a dozen.

Oddly enough, Trump’s ex-wife, actress Marla Maples, is also eager to hit the campaign trail for her former husband. Maples gave her first interview in eight years to The Standard, not only sounding very Trump-ian in bemoaning the deterioration of our country, but shredding E. Jean Carroll’s allegations against her ex. (Trump’s alleged sexual assault of Carroll occurred during his marriage to Maples.)

“I do know my daughter’s father well enough to know that he’s never had to push himself on another person,” she said. “He’s always had women throw themselves on him instead. I don’t believe there was a crime done.”

It’s certainly not a basis upon which to cast a vote, but what does it say about a guy when his ex-wife is willing to face the inevitable backlash for publicly campaigning for him? Even Trump’s lawyers are getting persecuted and sent to jail.

Maples and Trump share daughter Tiffany. I’ve said it before: Having spent years in my past life covering the tabloid world, if any celebrity kids were destined to be dysfunctional, drug-addicted, or deranged, it’d be Trump’s kids. Particularly Tiffany.

But the worst thing you can say about any of Trump’s children is that Tiffany is a lawyer.


On the Stream Menu

John Zmirak’s new one is up: “Don’t Blame Trump: The Pro-Life Movement Is a Revolution That Might Take 100 Years.” 

Meanwhile ,Nancy Flory has just posted a new edition of the good-news roundup “Ripple Effects”: “Federal Judge Rules Taxpayers Won’t Pay for Medical Mutilation.”


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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