It looks like Trump may choose a woman as his running mate in 2024 if he secures the Republican nomination. That’s the rumor now, anyway. There are only four declared candidates for the GOP nomination. The first primary is still almost a year away.
The current candidates who have officially launched presidential campaigns, besides Trump, are Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy. Corey Stapleton, former Montana Secretary of State announced his candidacy on November 11, 2022, but I don’t think he has been heard from since then.
There is lots of time and no one votes for a candidate because of the vice presidential choice. But, a strong vice presidential candidate can bolster a presidential candidate. For example, Trump chose Mike Pence in 2016 because he is an experienced politician with experience in the House and as Governor of Indiana. Trump is a businessman with no experience in elected office. Pence is calm and mild-mannered. Trump is not. Pence brought in evangelical voters. The two men balanced each other out.
The top three names mentioned if Trump decides to choose a woman are Kari Lake (Arizona), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), and Elise Stefanik (New York). Of the three top contenders, as it stands today, I would think that Trump chooses Stefanik. Hear me out.
Stefanik is a good fit because she is willing to play second fiddle without trying to be the center of press coverage. The other two women are publicity hogs and demand attention. Trump is the star and taking attention away from him is a non-starter. Stefanik definitely wants to be in a leadership position, as she is now in the Republican House leadership. But she’s a team player and willing to let others have the spotlight. We don’t, for example, see her jockeying for camera time by trying to shove Speaker McCarthy or Steve Scalise aside.
Kari Lake would be the lively choice. She is camera and media-savvy. Her experience as a television news anchor was a good training ground for her lack of fear of the press. She enjoys the combative back and forth with them and she never fails to call them out when they are spewing Democrat talking points. All of those things in the pro column also fall in the con column. She is too photogenic and spunky to play second fiddle to Trump. She could do it for a little while but then some reporter somewhere would say something to her and she’d go off on them, becoming the story. That is her history. Another point to keep in mind about Kari Lake is that she is still contesting the Arizona gubernatorial race, at least I think she still is doing that. She is using all legal avenues to do that and it is her right to do so. However, it will remind voters of Trump’s obsession with the 2020 presidential election and that is something voters have said loud and clear that they want to move on from. Voters look forward, not backward.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a constant presence in Trump World. She easily sees herself in the position but she, too, is one who relishes the attention. Could she play number two to Trump? For how long? I’m not so sure she could. She’s a bomb-thrower, like Trump, who says things for shock value.
Team Trump insists that they are not putting a priority on a vice presidential choice right now. The focus is on making sure Trump is the nominee. However, Trump boasts that “A lot of people are right now auditioning,” as he did in Florida last month.
“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,” said Jason Miller, a longtime Trump adviser.
That, however, hasn’t stopped some could-be candidates from taking full advantage of opportunities to be in close proximity to Trump, at his club and at events. The dynamic was on full display earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where a trio of women who have been mentioned as possible contenders sat in the audience to cheer Trump’s headline 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.
Trump spoke to advisers about possible choices before he declared his candidacy. He mentioned he is leaning toward choosing a woman. Loyalty is the top consideration. Longtime friends and advisers suggest that the top choice is Stefanik.
Trump has discussed choosing either Nikki Haley or Senator Tim Scott who may be a candidate for president himself. Whether or not either is open to being Trump’s vice president is not clear.
As I said, there is plenty of time. He has to get the nomination first and that is not certain. He has to work for the nomination just like everyone else, whether he thinks so or not.