Here’s Who’s On—And Off—Trump’s Most Likely VP Shortlist

Here’s Who’s On—And Off—Trump’s Most Likely VP Shortlist
Here’s Who’s On—And Off—Trump’s Most Likely VP Shortlist


Ohio Sen. JD Vance, rumored to be in the running to join former President Donald Trump’s 2024 Republican presidential ticket, defended him outside of his hush money trial Monday, marking the first of Trump’s VP contenders to make the trip to Manhattan criminal court—here’s who else is on the rumored list.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena on January 20, 2024 … [+] in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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May 13Vance lamented the “psychological torture” he said Trump is enduring inside the “dingy” courtroom in Monday, before making an appearance alongside Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., outside the courthouse, where Vance called out Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, for her role at a consulting firm that works with Democratic candidates (something Trump is not allowed to do per a gag order Merchan issued ).

May 11Trump denied a report that his one-time challenger, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (who has not endorsed Trump since dropping out of the race) was in the running for his VP pick, writing on Truth Social “she is not under consideration. . . but I wish her well!”

May 6Trump shared his takes on 11 potential running mate picks at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, calling Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., “unbelievable” as a campaign surrogate; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum “very rich” (Forbes estimates he’s worth at least $100 million); and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem “somebody that I love,” he reportedly said in a recording obtained by Axios.

May 2Vance, Burgum, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Scott were at the top of Trump’s frequently changing list of vice presidential picks, all of whom were set to attend a Florida donor event, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with his thinking.

April 29Trump eliminated Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake from his shortlist, The Washington Post reported, citing five unnamed sources who said Trump has expressed annoyance and frustration with Lake and has sought to distance himself from her, concerned that she will lose the Arizona Senate race and he ‘ll be associated with her loss.

April 28Trump showed heightened interest in Burgum, hosting he and his wife at Mar-a-Lago on Easter, Axios reported, citing four sources familiar with the situation who said Trump has brought up Burgum’s name repeatedly in recent weeks as someone who has little baggage and the ability to attract moderate voters.

April 28Trump meets with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Miami, The Washington Post reported, raising speculation he could be in the running, though the meeting was reportedly about enlisting DeSantis’ donor network to help Trump and burying the hatchet after Trump repeatedly attacked DeSantis while he was still in the presidential race .

April 28Vance said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” he has “never spoken to [Trump] about being vice president,” despite his name commonly being floated among the press and pundits as a potential pick, adding he would “have to think seriously about it” if Trump asked him to be his running mate.

April 26Noem, who Trump previously said was a “solid” potential pick, admitted in her new book that she shot and killed her family’s “untrainable” and “dangerous” 14-month-old puppy, Cricket, then turned her gun on one of her “nasty and mean” goats, The Guardian reported after obtaining an advanced copy of the book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” drawing bipartisan outrage and effectively tanking her VP chances.

March 21Trump was considering Rubio, NBC reported, while Rubio told Politico in response to the report he hasn’t “spoken to anyone” in Trump’s campaign about the prospect, but called it “an honor and an incredible opportunity.”

February 29Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was also “absolutely” on Trump’s shortlist, the former president told Fox News during an interview alongside the Texas governor at the southern border, but Abbott subsequently told Austin NBC affiliate KXAN he is committed to running for reelection in two years and is “absolutely” staying in Texas.”

February 21Trump mentioned his former GOP primary opponents DeSantis, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Scott, along with Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Noem and former Democratic-turned-independent former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii, when asked about her potential running mates, telling Fox News during a town hall “they’re all solid,” while singing out Scott, who was in the audience, as a “great advocate.”

January 17Trump name-dropped South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., one of the first members of Congress to endorse him and a staunch promoter of his unfounded election fraud claims, calling her a “killer” when asked about his potential running mate picks at a dinner at Mar-a -Lago in December, NBC News reported.

Crucial Quote

Trump told Fox Business in January the top criteria for a VP pick is someone who could “be a good president. . . in case of emergency.”

Surprising Fact

Donald Trump Jr. made the longshot suggestion in January that his father could tap form Fox News host Tucker Carlson, telling Newsmax, “I would love to see that happen.” Trump has also fanned the Carlson rumors, telling podcast hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton in November, “I guess I would consider him.” Carlson, who once texted a confidant that he “hates[s Trump] ly passionate,” has since rekindled his relationship with the former president, interviewing him in a counter-program that aired during the first GOP primary debate that Trump snubbed and endorsing him for president. Carlson, however, has dismissed the possibility of serving as Trump’s running mate, telling Megyn Kelly in a podcast interview last month a career in politics was “unimaginable.”


Several of the candidates have clear downsides. Rubio and DeSantis would draw the same base of home-state voters as Trump, as they’re all from Florida, something Rubio mentioned when asked by Fox News in January about the prospect of joining Trump’s ticket. Stefanik represents a solidly blue state that Trump almost certainly can’t win. Trump has openly feuded with Ramaswamy on the campaign trail, urging his supporters not to vote for him and declaring he “is not MAGA” just days before the Iowa caucuses. He also disappeared DeSantis for months, casting him as disloyal for running against him and coining the nickname “DeSanctimonious” to refer to his one-time protégé. Lake comes with significant baggage as she has refused to acknowledge she lost the Arizona gubernatorial race following a campaign centered on Trump’s own 2020 election fraud claims. And Scott broke with Trump’s GOP allies in Congress and voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, dropped out of the GOP presidential race in October, and has had a frayed relationship with his former boss after Trump urged him not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Pence claimed Trump asked him to “choose between him and the Constitution.” Trump has countered that Pence is “delusional.”

What To Watch For

Trump said in a recent interview with Fox6 in Milwaukee he would make a running mate decision closer to the Republican National Convention, which kicks off July 15 in Milwaukee. “It’s very early,” he added. Trump’s campaign is vetting candidates, but he has yet to hold one-on-one meetings with any contenders, Bloomberg reported.

Key Background

Trump and President Joe Biden clinched their respective parties’ nominations on March 12, making the 2024 primary season one of the shortest in decades. The Republican National Committee is set to formalize Trump’s nomination at its convention in Milwaukee in July, and the Democratic National Committee will hold its convention in Chicago in August.

Further Reading

Biden Gains Ground Over Trump In Swing States, New Poll Finds—It’s The Latest Survey Showing Positive Signs For Biden (Forbes)

Biden Agrees To Debate—And Trump Offers To Square Off ‘Tonight’ (Forbes)

Biden Vs. Trump 2024 Election Polls: Biden Continues Surge—With Help From RFK Jr. (Forbes)



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