Who might Trump pick to be vice president? Here are 6 possibilities

The presidential primary season isn’t over yet, but with decisive victories in the first two nominating contests and only one remaining opponent for the 2024 Republican nomination, former President Donald Trump has begun to field questions about the names that are on his VP short list and what vice presidential qualities he’s looking for in the running mate he picks.

When asked in an interview Sunday about a running mate, Trump told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that he’s not planning to announce his choice “for awhile.” He said he’s looking for someone who’s “able to be a good president.” He told Bartiromo he’s been talking to a number of people and mentioned South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

In January, he had said of his potential running mate, “I know who it’s going to be,” but did not offer any further detail.

Most candidates don’t announce a running mate until the official nominating conventions are held in the summer, and Trump is expected to follow that precedent. Sources close to the Trump campaign say they have advised Trump to withhold announcing the nomination until the convention to build suspense and increase his leverage over candidates vying for the role. 

Potential picks whom sources within Trump’s orbit have discussed for the role have been prominently featured on the campaign trail with the former president. Here are six of them.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik 

File: GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York smiles as she arrives to vote for the new GOP conference chairperson at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on May 14, 2021.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders. As the No. 4 House Republican, she was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump when he announced his third bid for the White House. 

Thirty-nine year-old Stefanik is almost half the age of Trump, who is 77 years old. She is seen as someone who would carry the torch for the MAGA movement he began and has fought for Trump on numerous occasions as a key member of his impeachment defense team in 2019. 

In January, she echoed Trump’s characterization of jailed Jan. 6 defendants  as “hostages,” and she’s filed multiple ethics complaints against judges in cases involving the former president. Stefanik was one of 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.

Sources tell CBS News that Trump sees Stefanik as a potential running mate. When asked whether she would serve as his vice president, Stefanik told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that she would be “honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.”  

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott

Former President Trump Holds Rally In Concord, New Hampshire
File: Sen. Tim Scott (R) (R-SC) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Grappone Convention Center on January 19, 2024 in Concord, New Hampshire. 

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The South Carolina senator dodged questions about being Trump’s vice president when he was running for president himself. He dropped his bid for the White House in November, and he endorsed Trump just before the New Hampshire primary in a blow to fellow South Carolinian and former Gov. Nikki Haley, who appointed him to a vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Trump told Bartiromo that he recently called Scott and told him, “‘You are a much better candidate for me than you are for yourself.'”

“We need Donald Trump,” Scott told a crowd of Trump supporters at a Jan. 19 rally in Concord, New Hampshire. “We need a president who will unite our country.” 

Trump praised Scott as a “man of faith, courage and conviction, a man who fought for those opportunities zones like nobody would ever fight and school choice and also taking care of the historically black colleges.” 

Scott,the highest-ranking Black Republican in the GOP, could help Trump  court Black voters, traditionally a key Democratic voting bloc. 

Scott told “CBS Mornings” that he would never ask for a cabinet position from Trump, but declined to answer whether he wants to serve as Trump’s vice president. 

“The one thing I want to do is make sure we win in 2024,” he told “CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King, “I don’t think about this from a personal perspective.” 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Speaks At The Coolidge And American Project Conference
File: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks at Calvin Coolidge Foundation conference at Library of Congress on Feb. 17, 2023 in Washington, D.C. 

Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Noem has been fiercely loyal to Trump and has long been mentioned as a vice presidential candidate. Hailing from the red state of South Dakota, Noem considered a 2024 presidential run, but ultimately decided not to pursue it when Trump announced he was running again. 

“I think he’s gonna run. And if President Trump runs, I’ll support him,” Noem told CBS News’ Major Garrett in 2022.  

She rose to prominence in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic when she refused to implement strict mask mandates in South Dakota. 

Noem was one of the first governors to endorse Trump, announcing she was backing him at a rally last September, and she campaigned for him several times in Iowa before the January caucuses. Noem told Newsmax in September that she would consider the vice presidential slot “in a heartbeat.” She also has close ties to MAGA world and with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum 

Donald Trump Campaigns In Iowa
File: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former President Donald Trump, Kathryn Burgum, North Dakota’s first lady, left, during campaign event at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2024.

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — another former 2024 presidential candidate — has also been raised by the Trump campaign as a potential running mate. Burgum was the first of the former 2024 presidential candidates to officially endorse Trump, joining him for a rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 14, the eve of before the caucuses, to announce his support. 

The Trump team likes Burgum, who refrained from saying anything negative about the former president when he was a candidate himself. Burgum is seen as a solid conservative with credentials that could be a good fit for various cabinet positions, including vice president. 

“He’s one of the best governors in our country, and I hope that I’m going to be able to call on him to be a piece of the administration, a very important piece of the administration,” Trump said of Burgum during the Jan. 14 rally. 

As governor, Burgum signed into law a six-week abortion ban and legislation to restrict transgender rights. He’s also a fiscal hawk who has cut state spending while enacting the largest tax cut in North Dakota history. He’s led North Dakota since 2016 and announced in January that he would not seek a third term as governor. 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Key Speakers At Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting
File: Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Republican Jewish Coalition, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nov. 6, 2021.

Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The former Trump administration official and current governor of Arkansas is another young, female conservative likely being considered by Trump for the ticket. Sanders, 41, is the youngest governor in the country and is seen as a rising star in the party who can speak to suburban women. Last year, Sanders delivered the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address. She officially endorsed Trump during a campaign rally in Hialeah, Florida, in November 2023. 

But Sanders has dismissed the idea of serving as vice president. When asked by “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan if she’d say yes to joining the Trump ticket, Gov. Sanders said, “I am honored to serve as governor, and I hope I get to do it for the next seven years.” 

Former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson Campaigns For Donald Trump In Iowa
File: Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson campaigns for former President Donald Trump at the Grace Baptist Church on January 11, 2024 in Marion, Iowa.

Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was one of the longest-serving cabinet secretaries during Trump’s administration. Carson remained loyal to the former president after Jan. 6, when several cabinet secretaries resigned in protest, citing the attack on the Capitol

Carson — who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential primary — campaigned for the former president in Iowa before the caucuses. The devout Christian told a church full of Trump supporters to look less at Trump’s words and more at what he has accomplished when voting for him. 

“He’s a strong believer. Now, sometimes that might not be reflected in his speech, but I always say, ‘Isn’t it better to look at what a person does?'” Carson said. 

Carson is seen as someone who would be a safe choice for vice president, since he is well-liked by conservatives and Christians. In response to whether he and Trump have had discussions about serving as vice president, Carson said, “I don’t want to speak about private conversations.” 

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