OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Names continue to swirl about as potential running mates for Donald Trump’s 2024 GOP presidential bid, but the former president’s campaign says he’s not yet focused on a vice presidential pick at the moment.
“A lot of people are right now auditioning,” Trump told supporters in his home state of Florida last month, as noted by The Associated Press.
The report added that, in the past, the presidential primary process involved candidates spending the first few months of their campaign introducing themselves to voters and outlining their visions for the country. But as a former president, Trump doesn’t need an introduction and wants to project an air of inevitability around his campaign, especially with the growing attention on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is seen as his strongest GOP opponent.
The AP went on to say that, at the moment, the Trump campaign wasn’t actively vetting potential VP picks.
“We appreciate all support for President Trump, but the clear focus is on making sure that he wins the Republican nomination and is well-positioned to win the general election in 2024,” noted Jason Miller, a longtime Trump adviser.
Still, possible candidates have taken advantage of opportunities to be in close proximity to Trump at his club and events, such as the Conservative Political Action Conference, where three women were seen in the audience cheering Trump’s speech.
“They were Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Elise Stefanik of New York and Kari Lake, the news anchor-turned-failed-Arizona gubernatorial candidate who ended her remarks at a keynote event dinner by kissing a portrait of Trump that was placed on stage,” the AP reported.
Previous reporting has said the one thing Trump has decided on already is that his running mate would be a woman.
Earlier this month, Trump dropped some hints about who he wants his running mate to be.
During an interview on “Just the News, No Noise,” Trump said he was looking for a “respected,” “common sense” person to be his running mate. While Trump did not name anyone specifically in the interview, he did provide some insight into the type of person he would want by his side.
“You’ve got to be smart, you’ve got to be respected, you’ve got to have a conservative voice and common sense. We’re not talking about conservative, we’re talking about common sense,” Trump said.
A recent Politico report stated that an unnamed Trump confidante said the 45th president is likely to choose a running mate “from three general lanes of candidates: women, conservatives of color, or a trusted adviser.”
“Once you get past those two issues — loyalty and Trump going more with his gut — Trump has a lot of leeway in who he would pick,” said Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s lead pollster in 2016 and 2020.
“He’s not necessarily looking to balance the ticket geographically, but what he can do is pick to balance gender, race, ethnicity — a lot of different lanes there. It could be everything from a Tim Scott in South Carolina to an Asian American in California, or somebody Hispanic in Texas. There are so many choices and paths. And there’s lots of time to go,” he added.
A recent report by the Washington Examiner named these four Republican women as being on Trump’s shortlist: Lake, Stefanik, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his former press secretary.
Previously, Trump unveiled his trade policy plans to enact a “sweeping pro-American overhaul of our tax and trade policy.” The bold new plan is aimed at strengthening American production and reducing dependence on China, something most Americans support.
In a video released on social media, Trump tore into President Biden by arguing that despite his claims to be pro-American manufacturing, he is “pushing the same pro-China globalist agenda that ripped the industrial heart out of our country.”
Trump called “to move from the Biden system that punishes domestic producers and rewards outsourcers to a system that rewards domestic production and taxes foreign companies and those who export American jobs.”
“To achieve this goal, we will phase in a system of universal base-line tariffs on most foreign products. On top of this, higher tariffs will increase incrementally depending on how much individual foreign countries devalue their currency,” Trump said.