CONCORD, N.H. – Former President Donald Trump told supporters in the closing days ahead of the New Hampshire primary that he likely will not choose 2024 Republican nomination rival Nikki Haley as his running mate.
“She is not presidential timber,” Mr. Trump said of Haley as he spoke at a Friday night rally in New Hampshire’s capital city. “Now, when I say that, that probably means that she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president.”
At the same rally, the former president landed the endorsement of Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who ended his own White House bid in November.
“It’s time for us to unite our party so that we make sure that the only target we’re talking about is firing [President] Biden. Our country can’t take four more years. I’m not sure we could take ten more months,” Scott argued in a Fox News interview following the Trump rally. “The best way for us to get rid of Joe Biden as our president is to unite our party now behind Donald Trump.”
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Although his presidential campaign failed to ignite, Scott remains very popular with Republican primary voters, and his endorsement had been heavily coveted by the remaining GOP candidates.
Scott downplayed running-mate talk as he dropped out of the race two months ago.
But a source in the senator’s political orbit told Fox News on Saturday that Scott hasn’t ruled out serving as Trump’s vice presidential nominee, if Trump locks up the nomination in the weeks ahead.
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“I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott remains in the conversation for running mate,” the source added.
With Trump crushing the competition in Monday’s Iowa caucuses — an important first step for the former president in his bid for the GOP nomination — buzz over whom he’d name as his running mate is increasing.
Besides Scott, speculation is also swirling around GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the fourth-ranking House Republican and a fierce Trump supporter and ally on Capitol Hill.
Stefanik spoke at Friday night’s rally and made multiple campaign stops on behalf of Trump on Saturday.
“I would be proud to serve in a Trump administration in any capacity,” she told Fox News.
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There was also running mate buzz on Friday surrounding Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, who campaigned on behalf of Trump in Kingston, New Hampshire.
“The best place for me is to actually be an advocate of the agenda in the United States Senate,” Vance told reporters regarding the potential to serve as running mate.
But he added, “Certainly, if the president asked, I would have to think about it, because I want to help him.”
The running mate spotlight is also shining on a couple of other GOP politicians who have campaigned with or on behalf of Trump in recent weeks. The list includes South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who remains neutral in the GOP nomination race, is also seen as a potential running mate.
Trump dropped a provocative bomb earlier this month when he said during a Fox News town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, “I know who it’s going to be.”
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But despite that bombshell, few in his political orbit have a good feel for whom Trump is leaning toward as his running mate.
Veteran Republican strategist Ryan Williams noted that “Trump prizes loyalty and fealty above everything else when it comes to his supporters.”
And Williams said that timing is crucial, noting that “if you want to be considered for the VP slot, now is a good time to come out and campaign and support him before the nomination race is officially settled.”
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