Candidates are already positioning themselves to be Donald Trump's vice-president
Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Visits to Mar-a-Lago. Complimentary speeches. Front row seats at major events… The first Republican presidential primaries are almost a year away and the field of candidates is still uncertain. But already, a parallel contest of a different kind is underway: several Republicans are openly striving to position themselves as potential running mates for Donald Trump, the presidential favorite. #x27;nomination.
A lot of people are auditioning, Donald Trump boasted to his supporters in Florida last month.
The mere mention of a running mate this early in the process is a departure from the traditional presidential primary schedule, where candidates typically spend the first few months of campaigning introducing themselves to voters and sharing their vision for the country.
But as a former president, Mr Trump needs no introduction and is keen to project an air of inevitability around his campaign, especially as the x27;focus is on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as his toughest potential rival in the Grand Old Party.
Trump campaign officials insist that the search for a vice president is not something they have actively discussed.
We appreciate all the support for President Trump, but the goal is clearly to make sure he wins the Republican nomination and is well positioned to win the election. general election in 2024, said Jason Miller, a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump.
That hasn't stopped some potential candidates from taking full advantage of opportunities to be near Mr. Trump, at his club and at events. This dynamic was evident earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where a trio of women who were mentioned as potential candidates sat in the audience to applaud Mr. Trump's keynote address. p>
These are Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Elise Stefanik (New York), and Kari Lake, the former television presenter who tried without success in being elected Governor of Arizona. She ended her speech at an opening dinner by kissing a portrait of Mr. Trump placed on the stage.
According to people who spoke to him, Mr. Trump is in no rush to make a decision and understands that he must let the nomination process play out, but he discussed the possible choices long before. to officially announce his candidacy last fall. During these conversations, he indicated that he wanted to choose a woman this time around.
His allies say Mr Trump is looking first and foremost for someone who will show unwavering loyalty, after being scalded by former Vice President Mike Pence, who refused to give up. cancel the results of the 2020 election.
In 2016, while posing as a famous businessman with no political experience, Mr. Trump chose someone who was, in many ways, his total opposite, choosing the governor of the United States. x27;Indiana and the former congressman who could bolster his standing with conservatives and the religious right.
This time, Mr. Trump is looking for someone ;one more like him, said Michael Caputo, a longtime friend and adviser who thinks Ms. Stefanik would be the best candidate for Mr. Trump.
“I think the president learned a lot from his experience with Pence. I think this time around Mr. Trump will be looking for someone of the same cloth as himself, not a different, complementary cloth.
— Michael Caputo, friend and adviser to Donald Trump
If Mr. Trump is looking for a star, he has also made it known that ;he was reluctant to choose someone who could overshadow him in the race.
Among those seen as most eager for the job is Ms Lake, who is popular with Trump's Make America Great Again base. She is perceived to be unequivocally loyal to the former president, but critics note that she lost her only race and continues to contest the results, which would attract attention to Mr. Trump's electoral failures and would intensify criticism that he is too focused on the past.
She said in a statement that she is 100% dedicated to the governorship of Arizona even though Democrat Katie Hobbs, who beat Ms Lake, now holds the post and she will work also to ensure that President Trump returns to the White House as soon as possible. Anything outside of these two purposes is nothing but a distraction.
A person close to Ms Lake has revealed that she has had no formal discussions about the role and is currently preparing for a potential run for the Senate. But the person, who like others insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations, also said Ms Lake is unequivocally pro-Trump and would likely do whatever it takes. #x27;he asks.
Ms Greene, who recently proposed a nationwide divorce between red states and blue states, is also seen as keen on the role. She was a constant presence at Mr. Trump's midterm rallies, often speaking during the pre-evening program, and often visited Florida, including sharing dinner with Ms. Lake at a local restaurant, Rocco's Tacos, for Valentine's Day.
She sees herself on Trump's shortlist of running mates. To paraphrase Cokie Roberts, when MTG looks in the mirror, she sees a potential president smiling at her, Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, who frequently hosts Ms. Greene on his podcast, told NBC. referring to the late political journalist.
When asked about her ambitions as Vice President recently, Ms. Greene told reporters: It's up to President Trump to choose who he wants .
Republican Party heavyweights, including New York State Representative Elise Stefanik, are already positioning themselves in anticipation of a victory for Donald Trump at the next nomination.
Ms Stefanik is also often cited as a likely candidate, but she has taken what her allies describe as a more subtle approach. She supported Mr. Trump even before he announced his candidacy and became one of his main advocates on the Hill. At CPAC, Ms. Stefanik used her speech to call for Mr. Trump's re-election and introduced him at a private event hosted by her super PAC. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, called it a rocket ship.
People close to Ms. Stefanik say that instead of openly seeking the job, she is focusing on her work as GOP conference chair and member of the House Intelligence Committee, believing that if she does it well, good things will follow. She does, however, enjoy the backing of several of Mr. Trump's allies, who see her as disciplined and less risky than other potential options, and who also point to her track record of winning suburban ridings.
In an interview, Ms. Stefanik assured that she had not discussed the position with Mr. Trump, although she had previously said that she would be honored to serve in his administration. /p>
We have a lot of work to do over the next two years and I will work no matter what to ensure that we have a President, a House and a Senate Republicans in 2024, she said. So that's what I focused on, and it's a big job.
Donald Trump also touched on other potential running mates, including his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who has been reluctant to criticize the former president since launching his candidacy. . South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who would be the first black person to appear on a Republican presidential ticket, is being considered as another option.
Many believe Ms. Haley, in particular, would be open to such an offer.
Other candidates were also named: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who plans to enter the race for the presidency; Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, who supported the former president in 2016 and 2020; and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who appeared alongside the former president during his state visit on Monday.
We we'll have a lot of great choices for vice president. We're going to make it a great one, Trump said during his visit to Iowa.