Trump says Burgum’s signing of near-total abortion ban in North Dakota is ‘an issue’

Former President Donald Trump, nearing an announcement of his running mate, said Wednesday that “it’s an issue” that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a near-total abortion ban in his state.

The comments from the presumptive GOP nominee mark the latest insight he’s shared about some of the top names thought to be under consideration for his vice presidential pick ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention. He also weighed in Wednesday on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s residency, saying it “makes it more complicated” since they both live in the Sunshine State.

Asked about Burgum as a potential pick, Trump told Fox News Radio, “It’s a little bit of an issue. It’s a pretty strong ban.”

Trump, who wants abortion to be left to the states to legislate, has said he thinks Republicans who support hardline bans on the procedure have suffered at the ballot box in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, though he regularly champions his role in building the conservative court majority that made that decision.

“You know, I think Doug is great. But it is a strong, he’s taken a very strong stance, or the state has, I don’t know if it’s Doug, but the state has, so it’s an issue.” Burgum signed the law, which only allows exceptions for rape or incest within the first six weeks of pregnancy, last year.

Trump and Rubio both live in Florida, and while there is no law preventing a president and vice president of the US being from the same state, the Constitution dictates that state electors must vote for a president and vice president “one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”

Trump said Rubio’s residency wouldn’t preclude the senator from being the pick, but said, “It makes it more complicated. There are people that don’t have that complication. Now, it’s fairly easily fixed, but you have to do something with delegates, or there has to be a resignation, you know, etc., etc.”

“So it’s not like picking some people where it’s very easy, where there is none of that,” Trump continued.

Rubio said Wednesday that getting around the residency issue to serve as vice president is “not without precedent” and suggested he’d be willing to serve in the role. “At this time in our history, given everything that we’ve gone through, if someone has an opportunity to serve this country at that capacity, unless there’s some reason why you can’t do it, you almost have to say yes, especially if you care about public service as much as I do,” Rubio told Fox Business.

Rubio spoke at Trump’s rally Tuesday at his golf course in Doral, Florida, where the former president continued to build suspense around his selection. “I think they probably think I’m going to be announcing that Marco’s gonna be vice president,” Trump said as he alluded to the media presence at his rally.

Trump was also asked Wednesday whether Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance wouldn’t be his pick because of his beard after a report from The Bulwark about Trump not liking facial hair.

“No, I’ve never heard that one,” Trump said, adding that he thought the Ohio Republican “looks good” and “looks like a young Abraham Lincoln.”

Trump has said in recent interviews that he wants to announce his running mate at the GOP convention, which is taking place next week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but said it could also happen right before the convention.

The presumptive GOP nominee, who has said he doesn’t think President Joe Biden would exit the presidential race, said Wednesday during the radio interview that he hoped Biden would be the Democratic nominee because, “We planned for him.”

Trump suggested in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday that uncertainty around Biden’s status as the Democratic nominee was a factor in his running mate selection.

“I haven’t made final decisions, but I have some ideas as to where we’re going. And a little bit, you know, we wanted to see what they’re doing, to be honest. Because, you know, it might make a difference. I don’t know, I’m not sure that it would,” Trump said.

This story has been updated with additional reaction.

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