LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is "high on the list for something" in a Donald Trump administration, Trump said last week, adding fuel to speculation that Cotton could become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s vice-presidential pick.

LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is "high on the list for something" in a Donald Trump administration, Trump said last week, adding fuel to speculation that Cotton could become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s vice-presidential pick.


In an interview Thursday with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, a transcript of which has been posted online by RealClear Politics, Trump said he could not give any clues as to who he would pick for a running mate. Hewitt said he thought Trump should pick either Cotton or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Trump, while not saying whether he agreed, spoke positively of both men.


"Well, I think they’re both great, and they’ve been very supportive," the billionaire developer and reality television star said, adding that "I like those two guys a lot."


Trump noted that Christie endorsed him early and said that "I’ve gotten very good, you know, very good statements from Sen. Cotton, who is a, you know, who I know, whose parents I know and met. I think that he is a very talented guy. He’s also very popular. He’s a very popular person. So these are two names that I have high on the list for something at least, that I can tell you."


Hewitt said Cotton or Christie would be a good choice for a running mate if the election is about terrorism, because Cotton sought out and killed terrorists as an Army Ranger and Christie prosecuted terrorists as a U.S. attorney. He asked Trump whether he thought the election would turn on terror.


"Well, it depends where we are," Trump said. "It depends where we are in the cycle. The attack (in Orlando, Fla.) was so horrible last week. And when there’s attacks, sadly, because there’s nothing more horrible. You don’t want to get things, but people view me as a much stronger person in terms of protecting our country, and you know, I’m doing very well in that regard."


Cotton, 39, is a Dardanelle native and an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who served one term in the U.S. House before being elected to the Senate in 2014. A frequent guest on television news programs, he has received national attention for several actions since taking office, some of them controversial, including a March 2015 letter he sent to Iranian leaders that sought to undermine President Barack Obama’s nuclear-proliferation negotiations with that nation.


In May, Cotton told U.S. News and World Report he supports Trump.


"I’ve said all along, I’ll support the nominee, because we can’t afford another term of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy or for that matter, economic policy at home," he told the magazine. "And now Donald Trump’s the presumptive nominee. So we obviously need to do some work to unify around our common and shared principles, and Donald’s got the responsibility and opportunity to do that in the coming weeks."


Asked if he would accept an offer to be Trump’s running mate, Cotton laughed.


"I haven’t seen it floated out there. Like I said, I’ve been focusing my political work on making sure that we hold the Senate and focus the rest of the time on my son," he said.


Cotton’s wife, Anna, gave birth to Gabriel Cotton in April 2015.


The interviewer said, "So that’s not ruling it out?"


"I wouldn’t rule it in either," Cotton said.


Last year, the Arkansas Legislature and Gov. Asa Hutchinson enacted legislation to allow a candidate to run for president or vice president while also running for an Arkansas seat in the U.S. House or Senate, a bill designed to let Cotton run for the White House in 2020 without foregoing a re-election bid.


State Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, who sponsored that legislation, said Friday it surprised him that talk of Cotton possibly being part of a presidential ticket began in this election cycle, but he said Cotton would be a good choice for Trump.


"Some people are scared of Trump, saying they don’t want his finger on the button," Hester said. "I think to have Tom there and to know Tom is experienced in war and knows how terrible it is, to have Tom there as maybe a level head during many of those types of debates, which I’m sure are daily when you’re running a country, I think it would be an added benefit to Trump."


Hester also said the notice Cotton is getting now could benefit him in the future.


"If the Republicans aren’t fortunate enough to win right now, then I think any talk of Tom right now helps him in 2020," he said.