OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday night that he has made up his mind about whom he would like to be his 2024 running mate.
“Well, I can’t tell you that, really,” Trump told Fox News during a town hall in Iowa on Wednesday when the moderators asked about possible VP choices if he were to win the Republican nomination. “I mean, I know who it’s going to be.”
Soon after the Fox News town hall, Trump’s campaign poured cold water on the remark and told NBC News that “nothing is finalized” regarding his potential vice presidential pick.
“He’ll announce his final pick when he’s ready to,” the adviser said.
Trump did not provide any further details regarding a possible running mate when questioned about it again on Wednesday. In response to a question about whether he would be willing to make amends with any of his remaining presidential opponents and choose one to run with him, Trump immediately singled out Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, who had already announced his withdrawal earlier in the day.
“Well, I’ve already started to like Christie better,” Trump said, adding, however, that “I don’t see it” about having him as his vice president.
🚨 TRUMP ON HIS VP PICK: “I can’t tell you that… I mean I know who it’s going to be” At Trump Town Hall.
— Donald J. Trump (Parody) (@realDonParody) January 11, 2024
Every major poll shows that Trump all but has the 2024 GOP nomination locked up, barring something unexpected.
Now, a larger question looms: if he wins the nomination, who will Trump select as his running mate?
According to a report from The Messenger, which conducted interviews with twelve prominent Republicans, including some Trump advisors, the list of possible running mates for Trump in 2024 has been pared down to a select few.
There have been rumors that Trump is interested in a female candidate for vice president and running mate, and it may be down to two high profile names — South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.
Noem, a popular red state governor who has endorsed Trump, has been popping up more frequently in reports as someone Trump likes.
In an interview with Real America’s Voice streaming network earlier this month, Noem touched on several subjects, including potentially becoming Trump’s running mate.
“Well, there’s a lot of people they’re talking about for vice president… I have long supported President Trump; he had his priorities right when he was leading this country,” Noem said.
Noem endorsed Trump during a campaign rally in her state in September, CNN reported, “fueling speculation about the role the Republican governor may play in his third bid for the White House.”
“I think she’s fantastic,” Trump said in an interview in mid-September about her. “She’s been a great governor. She gave me a very full-throated endorsement—a beautiful endorsement, actually. It’s been a very good state for me, and certainly, she would be one of the people I would consider, or for something else, maybe. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party.”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Trump’s VP pick should tell him like it is. When asked if she fits the bill she said she’s been honest with the president since the beginning. pic.twitter.com/gkxK4DpwK2
— Jake Traylor (@jake__traylor) January 4, 2024
I’ve known @realdonaldtrump for years.
From working together on tax cuts and trade agreements, to celebrating our Freedom with fireworks at Mount Rushmore, President Trump has always fought for the American people. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/tJIZZkCxEO
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) January 9, 2024
Stefanik, another ardent supporter of Trump, has become the fourth-most powerful Republican in the chamber in short order after the GOP conference ousted Trump critic and now-former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) last year.
Last month, Stefanik (R-N.Y.) ripped Manhattan Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the former president’s civil fraud trial in New York, alleging “inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance” in a letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Stefanik wrote that Judge Engoron’s “bizarre behavior has no place in our judicial system, where Judge Engoron is not honoring the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial,” adding that Trump’s position as the front-runner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary amplifies those “serious concerns.”
Elise Stefanik defends President Trump:
“Our border crisis is poisoning people through fentanyl. And you know why? Because of Joe Biden’s wide-open border. I stand by President Trump.” pic.twitter.com/L1fLrlfSns
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) January 7, 2024
In an interview with NBC News late last year, Trump himself stressed that while he was “going to choose the best person” as his VP pick, he “liked the concept” of a woman as his running mate.
The choice will be “difficult” as the former president’s “personal needs will dominate” the selection process, according to The Miami Herald’s Robert Pawlicki.
Despite Pawlicki’s prediction that Trump’s nominee will “likely will be a woman — and rabidly loyal,” she excluded candidates who were already “on the Republican presidential debate stage” and instead put out Noem and 2022 Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake as respectful enough choices.
Noem has stated that she’s open to the opportunity, and her name continues to be pushed.
For its part, the Trump campaign said in a statement that for now, the 45th president is “solely focused on winning the Republican nomination” and nothing more.