‘They’re all begging me. They all come here,’ Trump told an adviser, who shared his comments with Politico for a story about the ex-president’s veepstakes.
Both South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have spent time with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, which increased the chatter about them landing on the ticket.
The person who most certainly won’t be on the ticket is former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence got branded as ‘disloyal’ by Trump, according to Politico, after he certified President Joe Biden’s electoral college win on January 6, after Trump supporters ransacked the U.S. Capitol, with some chanting ‘hang Mike Pence.’
Trump has gone as far to say that it was ‘common sense‘ his supporters acted that way toward Pence, because a ‘fraudulent vote’ was being passed to Congress for certification.
That criteria hasn’t only knocked out Pence, but former U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley, who criticized Trump after January 6, sources told Politico.
It left the door open for other women to join the ticket.
One name floated was Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, considered a GOP rising star, but who hasn’t gotten a lot of national attention thanks to the prominence of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump floated DeSantis as a potential running mate recently, but insiders believe it was meant more as a warning that the governor was getting too big for his britches, than a serious flirtation.
Trump views DeSantis more-and-more as a rival, Politico said.
Other women attracting some buzz are both conservative Republicans: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
They’re ‘tough as nails and conservative as hell,’ one Trump adviser told Politico. ‘Reynolds and Blackburn are definitely in the hunt,’ the source added.
‘He’s not necessarily looking to balance the ticket geographically, but what he can do is pick to balance gender, race, ethnicity – a lot of different lanes there,’ Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio told the publication. ‘It could be everything from a Tim Scott in South Carolina to an Asian American in California, somebody Hispanic in Texas. There are so many choices and paths. And there’s lots of time to go.’
Republicans have tried to make inroads in minority communities, and Trump successfully did so in 2020 with Latinos in Florida, though not enough to reclaim the White House.
Scott, one of just three black senators, and the only Republican, recently spent time with Trump in Palm Beach.
‘It was a really warm interaction,’ another Republican in the room told Politico. ‘Scott was appropriately deferential without being gross, like some people are. What he said was thoughtful, and it was appreciated by the president. There was definitely chemistry there.’
Some Trump insiders could also see the former president picking a ‘consigliere’ type, with several white men floated if he goes that route.
‘Don’t rule out a consigliere lane for vice president, a Meadows-type,’ one GOP source told Politico, referencing former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who served in the House of Representatives before taking on that role.
Meadows himself could join the ticket or someone like Ric Grenell, the former Acting Director of the United States National Intelligence.
‘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,’ another adviser said.
According to former Trump official Michael Caputo the pick will ‘have to be loyal, and they’ll have to denounce what happened in 2020.’
‘If they don’t, they’re disqualified,’ Caputo told Politico.