Who could be Donald Trump’s vice president pick?

Gun Rights

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 which 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:

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Kristi Noem

South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting on 23 February 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland

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 in the US Capitol Visitors Center on 14 May 2021

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 cheers on Donald Trump as he speaks during an election night watch party at the State Fairgrounds on 24 February 2024

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 at a rally at the Cheyenne Saloon on 7 November 2022 in Orlando, Florida

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a recent addition to the former president’s shot-long 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 walks to a luncheon with Senate Republicans at the US Capitol Building on 27 February 2024

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.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson addresses the virtual Republican National Convention at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium on 27 August 2020

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 2024 presidency.

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

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 National Harbor, Maryland, on 22 February 2024

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, advocate for gun rights, anti-abortion and 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 waits to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden on 7 February 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas

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.

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