Who are Trump's potential VP picks? Here are some who are in the running

Former President Donald Trump has been fielding questions about who’s on the shortlist to be his vice president and the qualities he’s looking for in a running mate, even though the Republican National Convention is still months away. Sources close to the Trump campaign say Trump is likely to make the announcement closer to the convention, similar to 2016, when he announced days before the convention that then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would be his running mate. 

But the search is underway, according to Trump advisers, and some of the names that are coming up most consistently have been on his list for months: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

However, the former president may be starting to winnow his list. 

Sources say South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — whom Trump once said he was considering for the job — has fallen off the list of top contenders. 

Noem has recently been beset by controversy after excerpts from her new book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” revealed that she shot and killed her 14-month old dog Cricket after the dog allegedly failed at pheasant hunting training. 

Noem defended herself in a post on X, pointing to a South Dakota law that states dogs showing aggressive behavior can be put down. “Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did,” Noem wrote. 

The Trump campaign has not publicly commented on the story. A Trump adviser with knowledge of the vice president vetting process said Noem has been a “good surrogate.” 

Noem was one of the first governors to endorse Trump, announcing she was backing him at a rally last September, and she campaigned for him several times in Iowa before the January caucuses. Noem told Newsmax in September that she would consider the vice presidential slot “in a heartbeat.” She also has close ties to MAGA world and with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. 

Also slipping down on the list is former Trump administration official and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders. Sources tell CBS News that her stock has dropped because Trump remembers that she “took so long” in endorsing her former boss during the primary. She officially endorsed Trump during a campaign rally in Hialeah, Florida, in November 2023 – a year after he launched his third bid for the White House. 

Sanders, 41, is the youngest governor in the country and is seen as a rising star in the party who can speak to suburban women. Last year, she delivered the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address. 

But Sanders has also dismissed the idea of serving as vice president. When asked by “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan if she’d say yes to joining the Trump ticket, Gov. Sanders said, “I am honored to serve as governor, and I hope I get to do it for the next seven years.” 

Sen. Scott is one of the top names mentioned by sources close to the former president as a top contender for vice president. 

The South Carolina GOP senator has dodged questions about whether he’d run with Trump. But he was quick to endorse Trump after dropping his own bid just before the New Hampshire primary, a blow to fellow South Carolinian and former Gov. Nikki Haley, who had originally appointed him to the vacant U.S. Senate seat he still occupies. 

Trump has praised Scott as a “man of faith, courage and conviction, a man who fought for those opportunities zones like nobody would ever fight and school choice and also taking care of the historically Black colleges.” 

Scott,the highest-ranking Black Republican in the GOP, could help Trump court Black voters, traditionally a key Democratic voting bloc. 

Scott told “CBS Mornings” in January that he would never ask for a cabinet position from Trump, but declined to answer whether he wants to serve as Trump’s vice president. 

“The one thing I want to do is make sure we win in 2024,” he told anchor Gayle King. “I don’t think about this from a personal perspective.” 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — another former 2024 presidential candidate — is also seen as a potential VP pick by the Trump campaign. Burgum was the first of the former 2024 presidential candidates to officially endorse Trump, joining him for a rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 14, the eve of the Iowa caucuses, to announce his support. 

The Trump team likes Burgum, who refrained from saying anything negative about the former president during his own presidential candidacy. 

“Everybody loves Burgum,” one top Trump adviser said about the North Dakota governor, but added that Trump was the one who would ultimately choose. “We could learn about it in a Truth Social post,” the adviser said.

Burgum is seen as a solid conservative with credentials that could be a good fit for various cabinet positions. Trump has referred to him as”one of the best governors in our country.”

As governor, Burgum signed into law a six-week abortion ban and legislation to restrict transgender rights. He’s also a fiscal hawk who has cut state spending while enacting the largest tax cut in North Dakota history. He’s led North Dakota since 2016 and announced in January that he would not seek a third term as governor. 

Rubio, the senior senator from Florida and ex-2016 presidential rival to Trump, is also under consideration. The son of two Cuban immigrants, he is seen as someone who could help the campaign appeal to Latino voters. 

Rubio endorsed Trump the day before the Iowa caucuses in a post on X, and has noted he worked with Trump on the expanded Child Tax Credit and sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba during his presidency. 

Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was one of the longest-serving cabinet secretaries during Trump’s administration. He is also allegedly still on the VP short list — Carson remained loyal to the former president after Jan. 6, when several cabinet secretaries resigned in protest, citing the attack on the Capitol

Carson is viewed as a safe choice for vice president since he is well-liked by conservatives and Christians. In response to whether he and Trump have had discussions about serving as vice president, Carson said, “I don’t want to speak about private conversations.” 

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders. As the No. 4 House Republican, she was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump when he announced his third bid for the White House. 

Thirty-nine year-old Stefanik is almost half Trump’s age. She is seen as someone who would carry the torch for the MAGA movement the 77-year-old former president began and has fought for Trump on numerous occasions as a key member of his impeachment defense team in 2019. 

In January, she echoed Trump’s characterization of jailed Jan. 6 defendants as “hostages,” and she’s filed multiple ethics complaints against judges in cases involving the former president. Stefanik was one of 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.

Sources have said Trump sees Stefanik as a potential running mate. When asked whether she would serve as his vice president, Stefanik told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that she would be “honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.”  

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