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Democrats 'fear' this possible Trump VP pick who 'could spell the end for Biden': Insiders

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Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of potential running mates for presidential candidate Donald Trump on the 2024 Republican Party ticket

The race to determine who will be Donald Trump’s running mate this November took a major step forward last week with the acceleration of vetting multiple potential candidates, but political insiders with deep knowledge of presidential campaigns say there is one possible name on the former president’s shortlist Democrats “fear” the most.

Trump’s campaign recently entered the next phase of the running mate search by requesting documents from several prospective contenders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has grown to be a staunch ally of the former president since running against him in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

“Rubio is a familiar face who has become one of the strongest voices in the Senate for the America First agenda, is excellent on TV, and can blast Biden effectively for his failed policies,” one top GOP strategist told Fox News Digital. 

INSIDERS PREDICT THIS POSSIBLE TRUMP VP PICK POSES ‘EXISTENTIAL THREAT’ TO KEY AREA OD BIDEN SUPPORT

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From left to right: Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. (Getty Images)

“Trump is doing very well with Latino voters and the addition of Rubio would only strengthen that, which could spell the end for Biden,” they said, adding that “Rubio would be a solid, safe pick, with a lot of upside.”

GOP strategist Matt Wolking, who served as deputy communications director for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, described Rubio as “an effective, disciplined communicator who rarely makes mistakes.”

He noted that Rubio was the only person under consideration who speaks another language, and that his ability to speak Spanish would help the Trump campaign reach Hispanic voters in many states where it could boost their competitiveness, including Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Virginia, New York, and Florida.

“While demonstrating his ability to win a slightly higher percentage of White voters in 2022 than Trump did in Florida in 2020, he also appeals to the suburban and independent voters that will be key to Trump’s success, and is the only contender from a true battleground state,” Wolking said. 

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“Trump would balance out his ticket by picking Rubio for VP, which cannot be said for some of the other options. These reasons are why many Democrats fear the selection of Rubio the most,” he said, citing a May Vanity Fair article specifically noting some of those worries.

INSIDERS PREDICT THIS ‘POWERHOUSE’ REPUBLICAN WOULD BRING MAJOR BOOST AS TRUMP VP PICK

Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to his supporters during an election-night party on November 8, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Saul Martinez/Getty Images)

Wolking added that Rubio’s experience as a leader on the Senate Intelligence Committee would be “valuable” for Trump to “reign in rogue agencies.”

A source close to Trump’s campaign echoed what the other two said of Rubio’s Latino heritage boosting the campaign’s ability to connect with Hispanic voters, but also pointed to what they said were a few downsides to Rubio’s potential selection.

“I’m not sure he’s a 100% Trump guy. That’s the one thing I would say, that he has not always been enthusiastic about Trump. I think that’s the one area I would find could be a little troubling to the Trump faithful. That might be an issue,” the source said. 

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They were noting Rubio’s past criticism of Trump, including when he called him “reckless and dangerous” while running against him in 2016, and when he said the former president was responsible “for some of what happened” during the Jan. 6 protests at the U.S. Capitol. 

“The other thing is the question of whether Rubio is the right person to carry the Republican colors in 2028 and beyond,” the source said. “I think he’s a good man. Don’t get me wrong. I think he’s been a great senator, and been very effective. I think he would be a more than adequate vice president, but it just gives me pause to think about him as a potential candidate, and whether he’s a Trump-faithful follower.”

EXPERTS REVEAL MAJOR ‘DOWNSIDE’ TO POTENTIAL TRUMP VP PICK: ‘NO WOW FACTOR’

Marco Rubio, Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during a rally at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition on November 6, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Wolking, however, said none of the downsides to Rubio’s selection were “particularly big ones,” but noted he tends “to be more hawkish than Trump when it comes to foreign policy.”

He also mentioned concerns over the Constitution’s 12th Amendment, which prohibits electors voting for a president and vice president if they are inhabitants of the same state. Rubio and Trump are both residents of Florida. 

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“That would likely prove to be more a speedbump than a real obstacle to putting him on the ticket,” Wolking said.

A source familiar with Rubio pointed Fox to the senator’s positive performance in states like Virginia and Minnesota during his 2016 primary campaign, suggesting his selection could boost Trump in states now being viewed as potential targets for Republicans.

The source also pointed to Rubio’s legislative track-record, his debate performances during his two subsequent Senate re-elections since running for president, his ability to communicate, as well as his ability to “fire up a crowd” as all things that would make him a good addition to the Republican ticket.

A number of other big names have also been floated to join Trump on the Republican ticket, including House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Ohio Sen. JD Vance and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

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Stefanik, Youngkin, Noem, Scott

From left to right: House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and South Carolina Gov. Tim Scott. All have been floated as possible vice presidential running mates for former President Donald Trump. (Getty Images)

Trump has suggested he will likely wait until July’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee to name his pick.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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Snopes' debunking of Charlottesville hoax shows Biden lied, says Trump campaign

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The Trump campaign says a recent fact-check report debunking the claim that then-President Trump spoke favorably of neo-Nazis in 2017 shows President Biden and his campaign had promoted a “lie” and called on them to not promote the “hoax” again.

Left-leaning fact-checking website Snopes published a piece Saturday debunking claims promoted by President Biden and some members of the media that following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump called neo-Nazis “very fine people.” Biden has repeatedly cited the false claim, even saying it was the impetus for his 2020 White House run against Trump. 

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Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt told Fox News Digital on Sunday that the Snopes fact check shows Biden and other “corrupt Democrats” promoted a “lie” and “hoax.” 

“The Charlottesville lie was another hoax perpetuated by the corrupt Democrats and their mouthpieces in the fake news media, just like the Hunter Biden laptop, the Russian collusion scandal and so many others, all in an attempt to smear President Trump. Joe Biden’s campaign must end any advertising that pushes this lie because President Trump has, once again, been proven right,” she said. 

LEFT-WING FACT-CHECKER ADMITS TRUMP NEVER CALLED CHARLOTTESVILLE NEO-NAZIS ‘VERY FINE PEOPLE’ IN BLOW TO BIDEN

Former President Trump told Columbia Journalism Review he had to fight off “unbelievably fake stories” during his presidency. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/File)

Snopes detailed in its fact check that Trump was clear he was not calling neo-Nazis “fine people” when he made the comment at a press conference that year.

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BIDEN ONCE RIPPED ‘ANTISEMITIC BILE’ BUT NOW FACES OWN ‘CHARLOTTESVILLE MOMENT’

“While Trump did say that there were ‘very fine people on both sides,’ he also specifically noted that he was not talking about neo-Nazis and White supremacists and said they should be ‘condemned totally.’ Therefore, we have rated this claim ‘False,’” Snopes wrote.

The fact check, which comes just days ahead of the first debate between Trump and Biden, now aligns with Trump’s longstanding argument that the remarks were taken out of context before they quickly spread on social media and were promoted by the left and members of the media. 

President Joe Biden

President Biden (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The protests in Charlottesville in 2017, which played out across two days in August 2017, included White nationalists descending on the city who were met by hundreds of counterprotesters. The protests devolved into violence, including three deaths and dozens of injuries stemming from a car plowing through people and other attacks.

FETTERMAN ‘NOT WRONG’ TO COMPARE COLUMBIA PROTESTS TO CHARLOTTESVILLE, CNN HOST SAYS

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Unite the Right rally clashes

Protesters are shown during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017. (Evelyn Hockstein/For the Washington Post via Getty Images)

The protests were condemned by both Republicans and Democrats as a hateful display of bigotry, including Trump at the time, who said in a statement that such protests and violence have “no place in America.” 

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE DOUBLES DOWN ON ‘CHEAP FAKE’ BIDEN VIDEOS: ‘SO MUCH MISINFORMATION’

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said in August that year. Trump added days later in a press conference that he condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” and came under fire from Democrats for his remarks that there was “blame on both sides” and “very fine people, on both sides.”

Biden cast the events in Charlottesville, and his framing of former President Trump’s response, as the incentive to run for the White House in 2020.

Split image of former President Trump and President Biden

Former President Trump and President Biden (Getty Images)

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said in 2019 when announcing his candidacy.

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Biden has repeatedly pointed to Charlottesville as a moment of shame for the nation, including on the fourth anniversary, when the White House released a statement saying the rally was a “battle for the soul of America was laid bare for all to see.” 

TRUMP DECRIES COLUMBIA AGITATORS, CALLS CHARLOTTESVILLE ‘PEANUTS’ COMPARED TO CAMPUS ANTI-ISRAEL UNREST

Earlier this year, Biden was slammed for having his own “Charlottesville moment” as anti-Israel protests spread on college campuses nationwide in the wake of Hamas’ attack on the nation in October, sparking an ongoing war.

“I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians,” Biden told reporters in April as the protests raged.

Critics of the president soon sounded off on social media that Biden’s comments echoed claims of what Trump said in 2017 about the Charlottesville riots.

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Student protesters gather in protest inside their encampment on the Columbia University campus

Student protesters gather at their encampment on the Columbia University campus, April 29, 2024, in New York City. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

“This sure sounds like he’s ACTUALLY saying there are very fine people on both sides,” OutKick founder Clay Travis said.

The Federalist’s editor-in-chief, Mollie Hemingway, wrote, “President Biden says there are good people on both sides of October 7.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Biden campaign for comment on the Snopes fact check and the Trump campaign’s response but did not immediately receive a response.

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

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Florida mayor resigns with mass email to residents alleging corruption in small-town government

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A Florida mayor abruptly resigned after outlining a pattern of “corruptive behavior” throughout the small town’s government in an explosive letter to all its residents last Friday.

“What is going on with this small town is all wrong,” now-former Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek told Fox 13 on Wednesday. “I am sorry that I have to walk away. It is for my health. Please keep up the fight. I will always try to have your back. Please continue to do what’s right.”

Rostek’s allegations pointed to City Manager Robin Ignacio Gomez and his “discretionary” and “discriminatory” code enforcement, per the June 14 letter reviewed by Fox News Digital. 

GIRL SURVIVES FLORIDA SHARK ATTACK AFTER VACATIONING DOCTOR SAW BLOOD IN WATER AND REACTED

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek resigned on Friday and sent a letter accusing his city government of “corruptive practices” to all the community’s residents. (Fox 13 Tampa)

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“I am sorry to leave. But with a city manager as such, I cannot be or have any part of Gomez’s corrupt behavior, talking in circles, lies, preferential treatment of ‘some’ or discriminatory enforcement practices. As well as the everyday wasting of the tax-payers’ money and trying to justify it,” Rostek wrote. “In the end, some will go up to the pearly gates and some won’t. I will always do what is ethical and correct, others not so much.”

Gomez allegedly ignored Rostek’s requests to establish a life jacket policy, a smoking policy and a formal prohibition on cellphone usage for municipal employees who are operating city boats and vehicles, the resigning mayor claimed.

“I had a resident take pictures of the code enforcement boat, with people riding around on it doing their job, I guess, no life jackets on,” Rostek added. “The smoking policy … I see one or two of them smoking in city vehicles. There’s federal law about that stuff. He refuses to implement policy.”

DESANTIS SPOX DUNKS ON NYT ‘FACT-CHECK’ ON TERRORISTS ENTERING SOUTHERN BORDER: ‘AWAITING YOUR CORRECTION’

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as a stickler for ethics and safety, and said that contending with the alleged mismanagement caused him recurring health issues.

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as a stickler for ethics and safety, and said that contending with the alleged mismanagement caused him recurring health issues. (Google Maps)

Rostek complained that he had seen city sanitation workers holding onto the back of a truck with one hand and texting with the other. 

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“Gomez is very well-liked by employees because, in my mind, it’s ‘Camp Run Amok,’” he said. “We’re supposed to set an example for the public.”

Rostek also alleges that his former colleagues practiced technically legal but unethical financial techniques. They avoided commission approval on projects totaling over $30,000 by negotiating multiple line-item contracts at lesser amounts instead of issuing a Request for Proposals, he claims.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES FLORIDA RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSGENDER MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR KIDS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Madeira Beach City Manager Robin Gomez.

Madeira Beach (Florida) City Manager Robin Gomez had his contract renewed until 2028 by the city’s commission this week. (City of Madeira Beach)

Attached to the June 14 email was a separation agreement between Gomez and the city of Clarkston, Georgia. The document, dated Sept. 7, 2021, outlines Gomez’s voluntary resignation as city manager there and states that he and city officials cannot discuss his career there with other parties. 

Rostek explained to Fox 13 that he is a stickler for ethics, safety and the city’s liability, and that his stress in contending with his former colleagues resulted in multiple health scares. 

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“I told him, ‘talk is cheap,’” Rostek said. “I said, ‘you need to have policy to back up what you’ve told them, because when it comes time for a lawsuit, we’re not going to have any ammunition to substantiate,’” he told the outlet. “If you don’t get the small things right, what about the big things?”

“God only knows what else is going on,” he continued. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you start looking and digging deeper.”

Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner for Madeira Beach, replaced Rostek after his resignation.

Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner for Madeira Beach, replaced Rostek after his resignation. (City of Madeira Beach)

In an email to Fox 13, Gomez denied Rostek’s assertions. 

“While entitled to his opinions, the city has provided answers and resolutions to the comments although not completely supported/agreed/understood by Mr. Rostek,” Gomez wrote. “It is unfortunate that the disagreements and misunderstandings of city processes and policies by Mr. Rostek led him to state/list claims of corruption, which are simply baseless and false.”

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“We continue to perform our daily tasks and responsibilities pursuant to federal, state, county and city laws/ordinances/statutes in the most ethical manner,” he continued.

Anne-Marie Brooks, previously a city commissioner, has stepped up as Madeira Beach’s mayor in Rostek’s absence. 

Gomez wrote that city administrators would hold a special meeting to fill her now-vacant seat on the commission next week. 

Commissioners just voted to restore Gomez’s contract until 2028, according to TBN Weekly. 

Meanwhile, Rostek told Fox 13 that he hopes “someone at the state level makes contact with [him]” about the alleged corruption in the small town. 

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On Juneteenth, Alabama's new National Monument to Freedom dedicated to those who endured slavery

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  • The Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, dedicated its National Monument to Freedom on June 19, 2024, in the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • The National Monument to Freedom stands four stories tall. It is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, according to the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the end of the Civil War. Those last names represent the more than 4 million enslaved people who were emancipated.
  • The Equal Justice Initiative invoked Juneteenth in its dedication. Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery. More specifically, it commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free two months after the Civil War.

Thousands of surnames grace the towering monument, representing the more than 4 million enslaved people who were freed after the Civil War.

The Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, invoked the Juneteenth holiday — the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. — on Wednesday as it dedicated its National Monument to Freedom.

The monument, which honors the people who endured and survived slavery, is the centerpiece of the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park in Montgomery, Alabama, where art and historical artifacts tell the story of enslaved people in the United States.

JUNETEENTH IS A CELEBRATION OF ETHNIC HARMONY

During the dedication ceremony, Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recounted how enslaved people endured unspeakable horrors, but also left a legacy of perseverance and strength.

“Enslaved people in this country did something remarkable that we need to acknowledge, that we need to recognize and that we need to celebrate. Enslaved people resisted. Enslaved people were resilient. Enslaved people found ways to make a way,” Stevenson said.

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Juneteenth is a day to confront the brutality of slavery and its impact, but he said it is also a day to celebrate the dignity and strength of people who managed to love and survive despite what they faced.

Visitors arrive at the National Monument to Freedom on June 19, 2024, in Montgomery, Alabama. The monument is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, as documented in the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the end of the Civil War. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

“They never stopped believing. The never stopped yearning for freedom. This morning, as we leave here this Juneteenth morning, I hope we will be hopeful,” Stevenson said.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free after the Civil War. The news came two months after the end of the Civil War and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Stretching four stories into the sky, the National Monument to Freedom is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, as documented in the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the Civil War’s end. Those last names represent the more than 4 million enslaved people who were set free after emancipation.

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The Equal Justice Initiative created the park to tell the story of enslaved people with honesty. The sculpture park is the third site created by the organization. The first two sites — the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a memorial to people slain in racial terror killings; and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration — opened in 2018.

Dr. Michele R. Williams and her mother, Barbara Y. Williams, scanned the rows of names on Wednesday morning, looking for their family surname, Murdough.

“There’s a story connected to every single name and the families that they represent,” Michele Williams said. Their ancestor, a man named Moses, is believed to have lived in one of the two slave cabins that were taken from an Alabama plantation to become an exhibit at the sculpture park.

“It was just heart-wrenching, but also super-moving,” Michele Williams said of seeing the cabin.

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