Who will Trump choose for his Republican running mate?

With the Republican primary race behind him, Donald Trump now faces a big decision about his choice for a running mate to take on Democratic president Joe Biden in November.

Will he choose loyalty over political ambition? Will he surprise with someone who isn’t on most people’s radar? The list of possible vice presidential picks runs long, both with names Mr Trump has mentioned or those floated by aides. One thing seems certain: Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, won’t make the cut for the No 2 spot in 2024, after Mr Pence said he would not endorse his former boss.

Here is a look at some potential Trump running mates:

Tim Scott

A US senator from South Carolina who is Black, Mr Scott has become a fiercely loyal Trump ally since he ended his own presidential bid in November. Aides have been urging Mr Trump to pick a woman or a Black man to add diversity to the ticket and attract more moderate voters.

Mr Trump has publicly praised the 58-year-old lawmaker, calling him a “great advocate”. It remains to be seen whether the mild-mannered Mr Scott would be well-suited for the traditional “attack dog” role of a running mate.

Kristi Noem

Ms Noem, serving her second four-year term as South Dakota’s governor after a landslide re-election victory in 2022, is close to Mr Trump.

She rose to national prominence after refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms Noem, 52, campaigned for Mr Trump at several events in neighbouring Iowa in January. “I think anybody in this country, if they were offered it, needs to consider it,” she said when asked by CBS in January about being Mr Trump’s running mate. Ms Noem is a skilled politician and may be too charismatic for Mr Trump, who does not like to be upstaged.

And in March, she became the target of a lawsuit and a request by a Democratic state legislator for an inquiry after she posted an infomercial-style plug for a cosmetic dental practice in Texas where she had work done.

Elise Stefanik

Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at a rally in New Hampshire. Photo: Getty Images

Ms Stefanik, a New York congresswoman, is another fiercely loyal Trump ally and a rising star in the Republican Party as the US House of Representatives’ highest-ranking woman. She gained national prominence in December after embarrassing the heads of three top universities about antisemitism on their campuses during a congressional hearing.

Two of them later resigned, including the president of Ms Stefanik’s alma mater, Harvard University. Ms Stefanik was one of the 147 members of Congress who voted not to certify Mr Biden’s 2020 election win on January 6th, 2021, the day of the riot by Mr Trump’s supporters at the US Capitol. There are concerns among some Republicans that Ms Stefanik, 39, may be too inexperienced for the presidential ticket.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Ms Sanders, 41, the Arkansas governor, is Mr Trump’s former White House press secretary. She frequently defends his record from the governor’s mansion in Little Rock. A seasoned, battle-tested spokesperson, she would be a skilled advocate for the former president on the campaign trail. It is unclear whether she would take the job of running mate. “I absolutely love the job I have,” she said in January. Ms Sanders’ father, one-time presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, has also been a long-time supporter of Mr Trump.

Byron Donalds

Mr Donalds, 45, is a Black congressman from Florida. A conservative who belonged to the far-right Tea Party movement, he voted not to certify Mr Biden’s 2020 election win on January 6th, 2021. An eloquent advocate for Mr Trump, the congressman can often be seen at the former president’s campaign events.

Mr Trump told Fox News in February that Mr Donalds is on his short list. Asked by Reuters in February about that, Mr Donalds said it was “pretty cool” and confirmed he wants to be Mr Trump’s running mate.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Mr Ramaswamy is another former Trump presidential rival who has become an outspoken supporter since quitting the race in January.

Mr Ramaswamy, 38, a multimillionaire former biotech investor, dominated many of the Republican presidential debates with his slick style and clashes with fellow candidates. But the more Republican primary voters saw of him, the less they liked him, according to opinion polls – one factor that might count against him. However, there are reports Mr Trump has ruled Mr Ramaswamy out for vice president and is considering him for another cabinet role.

Marco Rubio

The Miami-born Rubio, 52, is on Mr Trump’s list of possible vice presidential running mates, a source familiar with the matter said.

Mr Rubio, a long-time US senator from Florida and son of Cuban immigrants, ran unsuccessfully in 2016 for the Republican presidential nomination eventually won by Mr Trump. Mr Rubio endorsed Mr Trump for the 2024 nomination in January.

The US Constitution poses a problem, however, since it bans the electors who formally select the president and vice president from voting for both from their home state – and both Mr Trump and Mr Rubio call Florida home. Mr Rubio said he had not been contacted about the job. “I have not talked to anybody, either the president or anybody on his staff about that,” he said in a March 21st interview with Fox News.

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard. Photo: Getty Images

A former Democratic congresswoman who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, Ms Gabbard left the party in 2022 to become an independent. She has become increasingly critical of Mr Biden and his administration, and she has become hugely popular among conservatives and a frequent guest on far-right TV and radio shows.

In February, Ms Gabbard, 42, was a headline speaker at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she accused Mr Trump’s Democratic critics of having the “mentality of dictators”.

The fact she was a long-time Democrat may work against her in securing the No 2 spot.

Ben Carson

Mr Carson is Mr Trump’s former housing and urban development secretary. A retired neurosurgeon, Mr Carson, 72, unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He rose to national prominence as a Black conservative after a 2013 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast when he criticised the policies of Barack Obama, with the then-Democratic president sitting just feet away.

Mr Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, stumped for the Trump campaign in Iowa this election cycle by visiting churches in the state. However, his low-key, quirky campaign style could knock him off the VP list.

Kari Lake

Ms Lake, a former TV news anchor, is running for a US Senate seat in Arizona this November. She ran unsuccessfully for governor in the battleground state in 2022 despite getting Mr Trump’s endorsement.

Ms Lake has never conceded that race, and has promoted Mr Trump’s baseless claim that his 2020 election defeat to Mr Biden was the result of fraud. The 54-year-old is a skilled public speaker but may be too polarising a figure in a year when Mr Trump will need moderate voters in swing states to win in November.

Nikki Haley

Some Republicans believe Ms Haley, the former UN ambassador who was Mr Trump’s last remaining rival for the Republican nomination, would be an ideal running mate. She appeals to the more moderate Republican and independent voters Mr Trump needs to help him beat Mr Biden.

But Ms Haley, 52, insists she will not be Mr Trump’s running mate, and she angered Mr Trump by taking so long to quit the nominating race. When Ms Haley dropped out of the race earlier this month, she notably declined to say whether she would support Mr Trump against Mr Biden.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

The Georgia congresswoman, 49, is a pugnacious, outspoken critic of Mr Biden and defender of Mr Trump. Mr Trump likes her. But Ms Greene is also a controversial figure who might be too polarising as a running mate. She has promoted far-right conspiracy theories, voted on January 6th, 2021, not to certify Mr Biden’s election victory, and once compared Covid-19 safety measures to the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust.


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