- Trump is set to have a more “personal” VP selection process if he pursues a 2024 bid, per Politico.
- The former president is popular among conservatives and can easily rally the party faithful.
- “He is the party, basically. It’s so united behind him,” said pollster John McLaughlin of Trump.
As former President Donald Trump ponders a potential 2024 presidential candidacy, he will be less wedded to choosing a running mate for geographical balance and more attuned to the individual’s sense of loyalty and their support of his debunked 2020 election claims, according to a Politico report.
Trump, who stepped into the 2016 political arena as an untested candidate without a legislative record, is now the undisputed kingmaker of the party, enjoying broad popularity among base voters that gives him the flexibility to make a more unorthodox selection.
John McLaughlin, one of the former president’s campaign pollsters, stressed that because Trump has the GOP apparatus behind him, he won’t be constrained in how he selects a governing partner.
“A lot of times, a presidential candidate will pick a running mate to balance out wings of the party. But with Trump, that’s not the issue. He is the party, basically. It’s so united behind him,” he told Politico.
He continued: “So his choice, if he runs, will come down to what he wants. It would be a much more personal decision this time.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is currently one of the highest-profile Republicans in the country, has been routinely floated as a potential running mate since Trump left the White House.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have also seen their stock rise as potential vice presidential picks as both men recently made forays to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida, according to Politico.
However, the legacy of former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s governing partner of four years, isn’t too far in the background.
In 2016, Trump selected Pence as his No. 2 to affirm his connection to the party’s dominant conservative wing and to have an experienced lawmaker who knew his way around Capitol Hill.
The two men generally enjoyed a solid work partnership during their time in the White House. But they clashed in the final days of Trump’s presidency after Pence certified now-President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory, which the former president still sees as illegitimate despite no verifiable evidence of mass fraud.
The former president’s advisors told Politico that the factors that led him to choose Pence in 2016 won’t be as pertinent in 2024 — and he will depend more on his gut instinct.
While Trump also relied on advice from his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, former senior advisor Jared Kushner, when selecting a vice president in 2016, the pair are not slated to play a similar role in 2024, per Politico.