Who could be Donald Trump’s vice president pick?

Former president will likely announce his pick before the Republican National Convention this summer

Ariana Baio,Gustaf Kilander
Tuesday 16 April 2024 21:15 BST
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With the Republican National Committee (RNC) nomination all but formally secured for Donald Trump, all eyes are on who the former president will choose as his running mate in pursuit of the White House.

Already, rumours are swirling about Mr Trump’s short list of potential options – nearly all of whom are people who have backed Mr Trump and denounced the 2020 election results, despite widespread evidence that it was not stolen.

It is unclear when Mr Trump will announce his decision, but he revealed Mike Pence as his running mate in July 2016, before the RNC held its annual convention.

Here are the potential options:

Kristi Noem

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is a strong advocate for gun rights (AFP via Getty Images)

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has emerged as a close Trump ally and popular conservative having secured a second term in a landslide victory during the 2022 midterms.

The South Dakota governor is a strong advocate for gun rights, championing the National Rifle Association, and supports anti-abortion legislation. Her long hair and freshly whitened smile also reflect a similar look in other notable conservative women.

Mr Trump has brought Ms Noem on parts of his campaign trail in Iowa, Ohio and South Dakota and trumpeted her endorsement.

Elise Stefanik

Elise Stefanik leaves a meeting where she was elected House Republican conference chair (Getty Images)

New York Representative Elise Stefanik is a fiercely loyal Trump ally who is slowly becoming a notable ultra-conservative in Congress.

Ms Stefanik is one of the people who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, she spread false claims of election fraud, defended January 6 rioters and pushed for legislation that would expunge Mr Trump from the impeachments.

Most recently she found stardom in criticising the leadership of three universities for their handling of antisemitism on campuses.

Though she is the third-ranking House Republican, Mr Trump reportedly said behind closed doors that he doesn’t trust her.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott cheers on Donald Trump as he speaks during an election night watch party in Columbia, South Carolina (Getty Images)

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is a well-liked traditional conservative who has proven a knack for fundraising that could be helpful to Mr Trump.

Though Mr Scott launched his own campaign for president this year, as soon as he removed his name from the running, he quickly jumped on board Mr Trump’s – handing him a key endorsement before the South Carolina primary.

On top of that, he is the only Black Republican in the Senate, appeals to the conservative evangelical vote and has pushed for a 15-week federal abortion ban. 

However, Mr Scott is not the most loyal Trump ally on the list of potential picks and notably did not poll well nationally during his campaign.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio stood against Trump for the nomination in 2016 (Getty Images)

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a recent addition to the former president’s list of potential running mates.

Mr Rubio’s name carries some weight within the Republican Party because he is an experienced politician. He was a member of the Florida State Legislature before becoming a senator in 2010 and had a failed presidential campaign in 2016.

He is Cuban-American, a gun rights advocate, supporter of stronger border policies and is pro-Israel – all of which are relevant issues.

JD Vance

JD Vance was an outspoken critic of Trump but has become a fervent supporter (Getty Images)

Ohio Senator JD Vance was an outspoken critic of Mr Trump but has become a staunch loyalist, making him a potential contender for the former president.

During the 2022 midterms, Mr Trump handed Mr Vance one of his coveted endorsements, which may have helped him secure his win.

Since then, he has repeated Mr Trump’s false claims of election fraud and defended the former president against critics.

Notably, Mr Vance has used extremely anti-immigration rhetoric to speak about the crisis at the US-Mexico border – a hot topic that Mr Trump has capitalised on to appeal to conservative voters.

“I’ve never actually spoken to the president about VP speculation. My simple answer is, I wanna help him however I can,” Mr Vance told Fox News on 11 April. “If he asks me, of course, I would think seriously about it. It would be a great honour.”

“I’m also happy to support the agenda in the United States Senate, and regardless ... you have to remember, my job is to serve the people of Ohio. Whether it’s supporting Trump’s agenda in the Senate, or serving in some other role,” he added.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson served as Trump’s housing secretary in his first term (Getty Images)

Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and former cabinet member in the Trump administration who is also one of the most prominent Black conservatives.

Mr Carson worked with Mr Trump as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development where he was accused of overspending to redecorate his office and making transphobic remarks, which he denied.

He has endorsed Mr Trump for the presidency.

Kari Lake

Kari Lake listens as Donald Trump speaks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference (Getty Images)

Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate and former TV news anchor Kari Lake is one of Mr Trump’s most outspoken advocates and defenders.

She has spread false claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election and taken a page from Mr Trump’s book in unfoundedly declaring election fraud contributed to her 2022 gubernatorial loss. She has lost multiple lawsuitsin that pursuit and is now eyeing a spot as Arizona’s senator.

Though she is loyal to Mr Trump, Ms Lake is divisive within the Republican Party.

Byron Donalds

Byron Donalds speaks at CPAC in February 2024 (Reuters)

Florida Representative Byron Donalds could be a possible contender for Mr Trump’s vice presidential pick as an up-and-coming star in the Republican Party.

He is a Trump ally, an advocate for gun rights, he’s anti-abortion, and he has said he would not vote to certify election results if he thought state officials were violating the law.

Mr Donalds made headlines last year when he unsuccessfully threw his hat in the ring for speaker of the House.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as Trump’s second White House press secretary (Getty Images)

Political nepo baby Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a rising star in the Republican Party as the former White House press secretary and current governor of Arkansas.

As governor she has tackled “woke” issues through legislation like banning transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice, banning some gender-neutral terms and erecting a monument for aborted fetuses near the state Capitol.

Though she could be a potential pick, she recently found herself in the middle of a scandal involving a $19k lectern.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy attack Nikki Haley at the fourth Republican presidential primary debate in Alabama in December (AFP via Getty Images)

The biotech entrepreneur and anti-woke author with an estimated net worth of close to a billion sparred consistently with former UN ambassador Nikki Haley during the Republican primary debates leading up to the first-in-the-nation contest – the Iowa caucuses.

Mr Ramaswamy launched his campaign in February 2023. The longshot effort came to an end after almost a year when he came in fourth in Iowa in January. He then endorsed Mr Trump for the nomination.

He came into the GOP primary having done a few appearances on Fox News bashing “wokeness” and made a name for himself as someone willing to say anything and everything to get attention.

He aggressively pushed a litany of baseless rightwing conspiracy theories, such as the climate crisis being a hoax, the white supremacist great replacement theory of political elites bringing in immigrants to replace the white population being Democratic party policy, and claiming that the January 6 insurrection was an “inside job”.

He garnered a lot of attention for his clashes with Ms Haley, whom he bashed for allegedly being corrupt and only campaigning for the benefit of her donors, as well as for supposedly being light on foreign policy knowledge. Mr Ramaswamy for his part, pitched handing over part of Ukraine to Russia as part of a peace agreement.

Doug Burgum

Mr Scott, Mr Ramaswamy, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum all spoke at a recent fundraiser during which the Trump campaign claimed to have raised upwards of $50m in a single night.

Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, and Vivek Ramaswamy have all attended a number of events with former President Donald Trump recently (Getty Images)

Mr Burgum ran a shortlived presidential campaign between June and December last year, making it onto the debate stage but struggling to garner attention.

He invested in a software company in 1983, becoming its president the following year. In 2001, he sold it to Microsoft for $1.1bn.

In 2016, with no political experience, the billionaire entered the Republican gubernatorial primary in North Dakota and managed to beat a long-serving attorney general and the candidate endorsed by the party. He later won the general election in a landslide and was easily reelected in 2020. He announced in January that he would not be running for a third term.

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