There’s a new frontrunner on Trump’s VP shortlist. And it’s not who you’d think

Arkansas senator sparked outrage by calling on Mr Trump to deploy troops against civil rights protesters

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 24 May 2024 15:53 BST
Senators attending Trump's hush money trial are auditioning for VP, says MSNBC anchor

Former president Donald Trump is reportedly considering Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton to be the Republican nominee for vice president in this year’s general election, a move that could outrage some Democrats but would bring an experienced, low-drama personality onto the GOP ticket.

According to The New York Times, Mr Trump began discussing Mr Cotton as a vice presidential contender in recent weeks, adding to a mix of candidates that include three other Republicans from the upper chamber: Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ohio’s JD Vance.

Mr Trump has also discussed North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former surgeon turned Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson.

Though he has declined to state who he is actively considering, he has praised Mr Carson, Mr Rubio, Mr Vance, as well as one House member — New York Representative Elise Stefanik — as candidates “who would do a really fantastic job” in the position, which has very few codified responsibilities.

Each of those potential picks would likely cause little stir among Republicans loyal to Mr Trump, as the possible candidates have all spent the last few years expressing fealty to the twice-impeached, quadruply-indicted ex-president even as he has endured financial setbacks and multiple criminal cases against him.

All of them also spent at least one day attending Mr Trump’s criminal trial in New York City, where they attacked the prosecutor, judge and witnesses in the case to aid Mr Trump in evading a gag order that has been placed on him during the proceedings.

But according to the Times, Mr Trump has praised Mr Cotton’s skills as a television guest, as well as his service in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Army officer.

Mr Cotton also would provide Mr Trump with an opportunity to stoke liberal outrage, as he became an object of scorn among Democrats for a June 2020 op-ed published in the Times in which he argued that Mr Trump should deploy federal troops to put down civil rights protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a group of Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers.

If the Arkansas senator knows he is on Mr Trump’s short-list, he isn’t confirming it publicly. In an interview with Fox News on Monday, he said his conversations with the ex-president have been “about what it’s going to take to win this election in November — to elect President Trump to another term in the White House and elect a Republican Congress, so we can begin to repair the damage that Joe Biden’s presidency has inflicted on this country”.

For his part, Mr Trump told a Milwaukee television station that he would be making a selection “probably not too much before the convention,” referring to the Republican National Convention set to start in Milwaukee on 15 July.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in