While former President Donald Trump has yet to formally announce a 2024 White House bid, he’s already stoking speculation about potential running mates — all of whom, he claims, are “begging” to be on the ticket, according to a new report.
Politico, citing interviews with a dozen Trump advisers and associates, reported that the 45th president will largely choose his campaign sidekick based on two factors: unconditional loyalty, and support for Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats.
“They’ll have to denounce what happened in 2020,” former Trump campaign staffer Michael Caputo told the outlet. “If they don’t, they’re disqualified.”
The report suggests that unlike in 2016, when Trump tapped then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate, the former president will not be bound in 2024 by considerations of ideological or geographic balance.
“With Trump, that’s not the issue. He is the party, basically. It’s so united behind him,” Trump pollster John McLaughlin told the outlet. “So his choice, if he runs, will come down to what he wants. It would be a much more personal decision this time.”
Trump appears to have embraced his role as a potential political kingmaker, reportedly bragging to one adviser: “They’re all begging me. They all come here [to Mar-a-Lago].”
In June, Trump told Fox Business Network that he would “certainly consider” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been mooted as a 2024 GOP front-runner, as a potential running mate. But a source quoted by Politico threw cold water on the possibility.
“Trump feels he made DeSantis,” the source told the outlet. “Trump sees him as a competitor. And he’s not going to have someone with better [poll] numbers.”
Other names that sources have suggested based on recent interactions with Trump include Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom recently spoke with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
“Scott was appropriately deferential without being gross, like some people are,” one Republican who was in the room with the men told Politico. “What he said was thoughtful, and it was appreciated by the president. There was definitely chemistry there.”
If Trump opts to select a female running mate, the outlet reports the list of contenders includes Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) — both of whom were described by one adviser as “tough as nails and conservative as hell.”
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was once thought to be a possible VP candidate, but that is seen as increasingly unlikely due to her sharp criticism of Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Some sources have also suggested that Trump could select someone to serve as more of an adviser in the VP role, such as his last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Others suggest former acting national security adviser Ric Grenell would fit the bill if Trump goes that route.
“Don’t sleep on Ric. Trump loves him, and unlike Pompeo or anyone else, he has no interest in running for president. That’s a big issue for Trump,” one adviser said.
While Pence has publicly proclaimed that he and Trump are on good terms after the former president labeled Pence disloyal for not attempting to overturn the 2020 election results earlier this year, there is little chance the two would reunite for a third White House run.
Trump is expected to formally announce his decision following the 2022 midterms, in which Republicans are favored to regain control of the House of Representatives after two years of Democratic control of the House, Senate and White House.