Even before his record-breaking victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump said that he’s already decided on a running mate.

What You Need To Know

  • Even before his record-breaking victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump said that he’s already decided on a running mate

  • The former president and GOP front-runner said during a Fox News town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, of his vice-presidential pick, “I know who it’s going to be.”

  • Trump would not provide details or hints, saying, “We’ll do another show sometime"

  • Possibilities widely mentioned in media speculation include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Rep. Elise Stefanik and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, among others

The former president and GOP front-runner said during a Fox News town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, of his vice-presidential pick, “I know who it’s going to be.”

Trump would not provide details or hints, saying, “We’ll do another show sometime.” Trump senior campaign adviser Chris LaCivita would not clarify further beyond that, telling reporters: "All I know is what I heard tonight. I’m not going to categorize it any other way than that."  

Trump told NBC News in September that he liked the concept of choosing a woman as his running mate, but added, “We’re going to pick the best person.”

In 2016, Trump chose then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate, but the men had a falling out after Pence refused to follow Trump’s demand of blocking certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.

According to a 2019 POLITICO Magazine article, Trump was considering then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2016, while his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump preferred former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but Pence ultimately won out in an effort to win over evangelical Christians, a key voting bloc in the Republican Party.

But Todd Belt, Director of the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University, said the Republican frontrunner's priorities for a running mate will likely be different eight years later.

"Usually you look at someone who broadens the party’s electorate or speaks to a segment of the party that might be worried about the candidate," Belt said, adding that Trump "cares about three things: Loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty." 

Here is a look at eight people who have been widely mentioned in media speculation as possibilities to be Trump’s VP pick this time around.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem

President Donald Trump appears with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Sept. 7, 2018, in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Noem could possibly check all the boxes important to Trump. She would give him a female running mate that would help him regain support from suburban women who voted for Biden four years ago. At 52, Noem would add some youth to the ticket. And she’s been a fierce defender of Trump, criticizing his criminal indictments and efforts to disqualify him from ballots under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. And she’s campaigned for him in Iowa. Trump has made no secret over the years about how much he values loyalty.

A former congresswoman, Noem is also a staunch conservative who has passed anti-abortion and pro-gun rights legislation. 

There also appears to be mutual interest. Noem told Newsmax in September she would consider being Trump’s running mate “in a heartbeat.” Trump told NBC News in September that Noem is “certainly” among the possibilities he was considering.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaking at Team Trump New Hampshire headquarters, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Manchester, NH. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Stefanik would also give Trump a younger (she’s 39) female running mate. And she, too, has been a loyal ally to the former president, serving on his impeachment defense team in 2021 and endorsing him even before he launched his 2024 campaign. In November, she filed a judicial ethics complaint against the New York judge handling the Trump Organization’s civil fraud trial.

Stefanik has climbed the ranks to House leadership and raised her national profile. She serves as the chair of the House Republican conference.

She repeatedly dodged a question last week on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” when asked if she has spoken to Trump about possibly being his vice president, but said, “I’d be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.”

Belt said he believes Stefanik, who shifted from a Trump skeptic to one of his most loyal supporters in Congress, has the inside track. "She changed her tune on Donald Trump. Donald Trump loves that."

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump shakes hands with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., at a campaign event in Concord, N.H., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Scott ended his own campaign for president in November. During his run, he shied away from harshly criticizing Trump, and the former president never turned his ire to Scott in the way he has with DeSantis, Haley and Pence. 

Scott endorsed Trump in mid-January ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate and, if chosen, might help Trump with Black voters. The former president received 12% of the Black vote in 2020, according to exit polling.

Scott had previously appeared to rule out serving as Trump’s No. 2, telling reporters upon his dropping out of the race: “Being vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now.”

But his stock may be on the rise after appearing alongside Trump at his New Hampshire victory rally after his win in the first-in-the-nation primary.

In one widely viewed moment, Trump speculated that Scott "must really hate" Haley, the former South Carolina governor who appointed him to the Senate in 2012.

"Did you ever think that ... she actually appointed you, Tim? And, think of it, appointed and ... you're the Senator of her state and she endorsed me. You must really hate her," Trump said, to laughter from the crowd.

Scott sauntered up to the podium and told the Republican frontrunner: "I just love you!"

"That's why he's a great politician," Trump exclaimed in response.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waits for a television interview at the Capitol in Washington on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)

Pompeo, 60, would be bring a wealth of experience to the vice presidency. After serving three terms in the U.S. House, he was CIA director and later secretary of state in the Trump administration.

Pompeo likely scored points with Trump by putting his own presidential ambitions on hold in 2024. But he also last year criticized his former boss for retaining classified documents after he left the White House and for adding to the national debt while president. 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders arrives at a campaign rally for former President Donald Trump in Hialeah, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Now Arkansas’ governor, Sanders, 41, has a well-documented track record of defending Trump from her time as press secretary in his administration.

She has remained on good terms with the former president and last year delivered the Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union address.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican Party of Florida Freedom Summit, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Donalds, 45, is widely considered a rising star in the Republican Party and is one of five Black Republicans in Congress.

He endorsed Trump in April, backing him over the governor from his home state, DeSantis.

Asked in a November interview on SiriusXM whether he’d join the Trump ticket if asked, Donalds said: “Yeah, I would because I want to do everything possible to help get our country on track.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., waves while former President Donald Trump points to her while they look over the 16th tee during the second round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament, July 30, 2022, in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Greene, 49, has emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill. She has campaigned for him in Iowa, railed against Trump’s criminal indictments and cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

The far-right congresswoman said in August of last year that she “knows” her name is “on a list” of possible Trump VP picks, adding, “I’d have to think about it and consider it.”

Kari Lake

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, right, speaks as former President Donald Trump listens during a rally, Oct. 9, 2022, in Mesa, Ariz. While vice presidential candidates typically aren't tapped until after a candidate has locked down the nomination, Trump's decisive win in the Iowa caucuses and the departure of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from the race has only heightened what had already been a widespread sense of inevitability. Lake is considered a close ally of the former president who is among those being considered for the job. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A former TV news anchor who lost Arizona’s gubernatorial race in 2022, Lake has forcefully and consistently defended Trump at every turn. She’s campaigned for him and reportedly made frequent visits to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. And like Trump, she has refused to accept the results of her last election defeat, making baseless claims of fraud.

Lake, 54, launched her own campaign for U.S. Senate in October, complicating her potential path to the vice presidency. 

Spectrum News' Ashley Gallagher contributed to this report.


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