Trump confirms names of possible VP picks on his 'short list,' says all are 'good' and 'solid' contenders

 February 21, 2024

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday was asked directly about who he was considering on his "short list" of possible vice presidential candidates and gave arguably his most informative answer to date about the qualities he was looking for in a potential running mate.

Trump was presented with a list of six prominent politicians, including five Republicans and one Democrat-turned-independent, and confirmed that all six were "solid" contenders to get the nod as his VP, The Hill reported.

The likely GOP nominee also either prematurely revealed his top choice or fooled everyone with a deft head-fake by singling out for high praise one of those contenders, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who endorsed Trump ahead of the New Hampshire primary after ending his own presidential campaign last year.

Trump really likes Sen. Scott

The Washington Examiner reported that former President Trump spoke with Fox News host Laura Ingraham during a town hall-style event in South Carolina on Tuesday and highlighted the popular Palmetto State senator who has been campaigning with him and was in attendance in the audience.

"He’s been so great. He’s been such a great advocate," Trump said of Scott, and joked, "He has been much better for me than he was for himself. I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself, but boy, does he talk about Trump."

Scott's endorsement of Trump is considered a big deal given that there had been some expectations among the punditry that the senator would remain neutral or even endorse former United Nations Ambassador Nikk Haley, who previously served as South Carolina's governor, initially appointed Scott to fill a vacant seat in the Senate, and is the only other major candidate still challenging the former president for the GOP nomination.

"They’re all good, they’re all solid"

In the interview with Fox News host Ingraham, former President Trump was asked about what particular qualities he was looking for in a vice presidential candidate, and replied that the top thing he wanted to see was that they would be prepared from the start to step up and serve as the actual president if necessary.

That is when Trump pointed to Sen. Scott in the crowd and sang his praises, to resounding applause from the audience, after which Ingraham rattled off a list of names of possible VP choices that had been provided by audience members in a pre-event survey.

That list included, in addition to Scott, two other fellow former presidential candidates in entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who previously served in Congress and ran for president as a Democrat but has since declared herself an independent and has adopted several more conservative-leaning stances on various issues.

Asked if all six were on his "short list," Trump confirmed, "They are," but dodged a follow-up question about when he might announce his pick and instead downplayed the "impact" vice presidential nominees have on a general election even as he acknowledged that the vice president was "a very important position" to be filled.

"Honestly, all of those people are good," he said of the names Ingraham had listed. "They’re all good, they’re all solid."

Trump wants a running mate with "common sense"

As for what else Trump was looking for in a prospective running mate, he told Ingraham, "I always say, I want people with common sense because there’s so many things happening in this country that don’t make sense."

"Who wants an open border? Who wants high interest rates? Who wants all-electric vehicles? And they're fine, but you want to have choice," he added. "We're talking about so much. It's all based on common sense. We want a strong military. We want choice in education. We want to have things that will really make our country great again."

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