Donald Trump says he knows who his running mate will be for a 2024 presidential bid, but senior officials inside his campaign are still weighing a number of potential candidates and have formed a “short list” to draw from, Fox Business has learned.
The speculation of a running mate for the former president comes after Trump racked up a big win in the Iowa caucuses. He is poised to win the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday barring a last minute surge by his top two opponents, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A win for the former president in New Hampshire could lead to one or both candidates dropping out of the race, and clearing Trump’s path to the GOP nomination to face off against Joe Biden in November.
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People close to the Trump campaign say neither Haley nor DeSantis are on Trump’s VP short list at this time. Rather, the list includes Ohio GOP Senator JD Vance, and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, both rising stars in the GOP and members of the party’s Trump-centric MAGA wing.
New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik, coming off her takedown of top Ivy League college chiefs during a hearing over campus antisemitism, is also on the list, though considered “a long shot,” one person close to the campaign told Fox Business.
Trump is more familiar with both Huckabee Sanders, his former White House spokeswoman, who battled the press on his behalf. Same goes for Vance, the former venture capitalist and author who adopted the MAGA platform that deviates from Republican orthodoxy on trade and foreign engagement to win his seat in 2022, GOP advisers say.
“I doubt we hear anything anytime soon,” said one GOP political strategist. “His people are still talking about different players.”
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Also noticeably absent from the short list is another Wall Street executive, turned author, and Trump-styled populist, Vivek Ramaswamy, who after losing in Iowa promptly endorsed Trump for the GOP nomination.
Ramaswamy’s populist policy mix most resembled Trump on the campaign trail. But he was widely criticized for his flamboyant campaigning style and at one point, earned the criticism of Trump himself for suggesting the former president won’t be able to survive the legal attacks, including five criminal indictments that could lead to Trump serving a prison sentence while in office.
A Trump campaign official did not return a request for comment.
It’s unclear if Sander Huckabee or Vance are interested in the job (Neither returned calls for comment). Stefanik definitely is. “I would be honored to serve in the Trump administration in any capacity,” she recently said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Trump has said equally nice things about Stefanik, who has clearly pushed the MAGA agenda while representing her upstate New York congressional district since 2015.
GOP strategists say the VP short list is in flux and subject to change. They also say Trump’s remarks about knowing his VP choice, made during a Fox News Town Hall, should be taken lightly.
Trump is a master at drawing attention to himself and creating the equivalent of millions of dollars in free publicity by making such provocative statements. He also is looking to make his nomination a fait accompli and depress voter turnout for Haley and DeSantis in New Hampshire.
“He’s a master at commanding attention,” the GOP operative said.
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