(Trends Wide) — Donald Trump has not announced whether he will run for president again in 2024, but he does seem certain of one thing: Mike Pence would not be his running mate.
“I don’t think people would accept it,” Trump said in an interview with the Washington Examiner about the possibility of electing Mike Pence as vice president again in 2024. “Mike and I had a great relationship, except for the very important factor which happened at the end. We had a really good relationship. I haven’t talked to him in a long time.”
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to politics in the last 18 months. Trump has not forgiven Pence for refusing to overturn the election result during the Electoral College vote count on Jan. 6, 2021. (There is no constitutional role that would allow Pence to do such a thing.)
However, Trump’s choice of vice president is not merely a theoretical discussion. Trump has shown all the signs of seeking the presidency again, and there is little data to suggest he will face any serious competition for the nomination.
So who could Trump choose? Let’s evaluate some of the more obvious options.
(While vice-presidential candidates are often second-choices on the party list, Trump is not the type to put things in the past. This means that if any of these people challenge Trump for the party’s nomination Republican in two years, they will probably be left off the list of candidates).
- Ron DeSantis: this would be the perfect duo for many MAGA fans. Florida’s governor is the party’s most beloved politician not named “Trump.” And he comes from a huge battleground state. The only problem is that DeSantis has not been as willing to stoop to the possibility of a Trump candidacy in 2024 as other Republicans have.
- Nikki Haley: you can count on one hand the number of people who left the Trump administration on good terms. Haley, who served as the US ambassador to the United Nations during the first part of Trump’s stay in the White House, is one of them. (Since then, their relationship has had its ups and downs.) Also, as a Native American, she would be a different type of candidate than what Republicans have proposed in recent elections.
- Tim Scott: while the South Carolina senator has been willing to occasionally criticize Trump, he is still in his grace. Scott said in advance that he would support Trump if he wanted to run in 2024. And Scott would mark a milestone as the first black candidate on a national Republican ticket.
- Glenn Youngkin: Sure, Youngkin has only been governor of Virginia for a few months. But he proved in the 2021 election campaign that there is a way to connect the party’s base that loves Trump with suburban voters who are unhappy with the former president’s behavior. Youngkin also discovered a problem: education and the role that parents should have in it, which could very well give Republicans a majority in the House and Senate.
- Ted Cruz: Don’t forget that Trump loves redemption stories. (Trump sees everything from the perspective of television and ratings, and a story of redemption always grabs the audience.) What better plot for 2024 than if Trump picks the runner-up from 2016 that he adamantly refused to endorse at the convention? For those who say that Cruz would not accept the nomination for vice president, I can only assume that they have not met the senator from Texas.
The point: Given Trump’s dominant role right now in the GOP, the real contest for 2024 could be who will serve as vice president.