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Trump says he’s already chosen VP pick in Fox News town hall

Former president also had a rare moment of agreement with rival Chris Christie over the former governor’s hot mic incident

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 11 January 2024 17:00 GMT
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Donald Trump claimed that he has already decided on his vice presidential pick as he dodged the latest GOP presidential debate to take part in a Fox News town hall.

The former president appeared on stage in Des Moines on Wednesday night for an event to rival the CNN Republican presidential primary debate between fellow candidates Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

During the town hall, Mr Trump hinted that he has made his mind up about who to tap to be his running mate – but refused to spill the details to hosts Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.

“I can’t tell you that really,” he said when asked about a potential vice president pick.

“I mean, I know who it’s going to be.”

When pressed for a name, the former president – who continues to lead his GOP rivals by a long shot – he refused to give anything away, teasing that “we’ll do another show sometime”.

He did however admit that he would be open to building bridges with his rival Republican presidential candidates.

“Oh, sure. I will, I will,” he said.

“I’ve already started to like Christie better,” he joked.

Donald Trump during a town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, on 10 January 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

Rising to the joke, Ms MacCallum asked if Chris Christie – Mr Trump’s one-time close ally turned harshest critic – could be in the running.

“Christie for vice president?” she asked.

“I don’t see it. That would be an upset,” Mr Trump replied, laughing: “Christie for vice president.”

Hours before Mr Trump took to the stage, former New Jersey governor Mr Christie had dropped out of the Republican race – following dismal numbers in the polls.

His announcement was somewhat overshadowed when Mr Christie was caught on a hot mic trashing his GOP rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.

In the audio, Mr Christie was heard saying: “People don’t want to hear it, Wayne. We know we’re right. But they don’t want to hear it. We couldn’t have been any clearer.”

He added: “Who’s punching above their weight and who’s going getting a return on their investment?”

On Ms Haley, he said: “She’s gonna get smoked. You and I both know it, she’s not up to this.”

Meanwhile, he said Mr DeSantis had called him and “he’s petrified”.

In a rare moment of agreement, Mr Trump chimed in saying Mr Christie was “right” about his comments.

Mr DeSantis and Ms Haley went head-to-head on Wednesday night in the latest Republican debate – making for a heated night where they sparred over everything from Mr Trump, foreign policy and their records for telling the truth as they vy to make a dent in Mr Trump’s lead.

Recent polls have shown Ms Haley break away from Mr DeSantis, and narrow the former president’s lead in key states.

Last month, insiders in Mr Trump’s circle said that he is now considering her as his second in command if he retakes the White House.

“What do you think of Nikki?” Mr Trump has reportedly asked his advisers, multiple insiders told Politico and CBS News .

The suggestion, however, has been widely panned by his inner circle, with the sources saying that Mr Trump’s allies and advisors are trying to warn him off the idea – arguing that Ms Haley does not fit with his Maga base.

Many have also publicly slammed Ms Haley in an apparent bid to further dissuade the former president from seriously considering her.

Mr Trump’s eldest son Don Jr recently said in a Newsmax interview that he will “go to great lengths to make sure” a Trump-Haley ticket doesn’t emerge.

Meanwhile, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said this week on his podcast that he plans to “advocate against” the union “as strongly as I could”.

Mr Trump has also previously thrown other names into the ring including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Arizona Republican and staunch Maga loyalist Kari Lake, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Senator Tim Scott, Senator J.D. Vance, Representative Byron Donalds and Representative Elise Stefanik, according to Politico.

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