PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Donald Trump said Saturday that Scott Brown would be a vice president straight out of “central casting.”
The Republican front-runner was flattering Brown as he sought his endorsement during a rally hosted by the former U.S. senator in a Toyota dealership here.
After Trump took the stage to “Eye of the Tiger,” Brown introduced him as “the next president of the United States.”
Trump returned the favor 10 minutes into his speech. “There’s no hope with these people that we have running for office, except for him of course,” he said, pointing at Brown. “Here’s a good man! We’re keeping our bad ones. We’re losing our good ones.”
A man in the audience yelled that Trump should choose Brown as his vice president. The crowd of several hundred cheered.
“You know what? He’s central casting,” Trump replied, nodding. “Look at that guy! He’s central casting! A great guy and a beautiful wife and a great family. So important!”
Brown said he plans to endorse one of the candidates after a state GOP cattle call next weekend.
But he plainly likes the idea of being vice president.
“I’ve heard that before,” Brown said, smiling, when asked about it after the event. “So I’m just going to continue to work hard and see what happens.”
It is very hard to fathom that a guy who has lost his past two races could suddenly find himself on a national ticket, but it was also hard to fathom that Trump could hold his lead in the national polls for as long as he has.
And it is not the first time Brown’s name has been mentioned. Fox News host Andrea Tantaros touted him as a possible vice presidential pick on the air Tuesday.
Brown represented Massachusetts for three years, from January 2010 to January 2013, after winning the special election to succeed Edward M. Kennedy, who died in 2009. He lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Then he moved to his vacation home in neighboring New Hampshire so that he could challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014. He narrowly lost that race, one of the few high-profile losses for Republicans during the midterms that year.
Still, Brown continues to harbor political ambitions. He faced a competitive GOP primary when he ran for Senate in 2014, largely because of his past support for a ban on assault weapons and his support for abortion rights. As he looks ahead to a future run for office, perhaps governor in 2018 or Senate in 2020, he’s trying to deepen his roots in New Hampshire and sharpen his appeal to conservatives.
Trump said he will support Brown in whatever office he seeks. “The right thing is going to happen,” he said. “We’ve got to get him back. And we’ll be behind him 100 percent.”
Brown has hosted every major GOP candidate at a barn in nearby Rye, on the Atlantic coast. The events are promoted as part of a “No B.S. Backyard BBQ” series. He said he could not host Trump there because of the Secret Service’s concerns about security. So they held the event at a nearby Toyota dealership owned by one of his friends.
After the event, Brown told reporters that he will endorse sometime after next Saturday. First, he will host Ted Cruz at the barn this Tuesday night.
That’s ironic because Trump spent a big chunk of his speech here Saturday ripping into the senator from Texas as a hypocrite, even declaring that he is owned “lock, stock and barrel” by Goldman Sachs and Citibank because he took loans from the banks.
Brown batted away a question about Trump’s criticism of Cruz. “Listen, this is politics,” he said. “Are you kidding me? Politics is a blood sport, so they’re going to battle. Quite frankly, I think it’s been pretty civil so far.”
Speaking with reporters after the event, Brown said he is weighing three factors as he decides whom to endorse: “Somebody who is not afraid to make a decision and doesn’t always follow the polls; sometimes who will be politically incorrect and will do what’s best for this country ... Someone also who is not afraid to admit when they’re wrong.”
Brown said he disagrees with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. But then he said he’d go much farther.
“Of course not,” the former senator said when asked about the Muslim ban. “But I do support something maybe a little bit more interesting, and that is … there is nothing wrong with putting a halt on all immigration coming in.”
He said Republican and Democratic leaders should get together and “come up with a comprehensive immigration policy that they all can agree on.”
Until then, he explained, “I would support something where you just put a halt on everybody coming in.”