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Trump reveals VP shortlist includes DeSantis, Scott, Ramaswamy, Noem, Donalds, Gabbard

Former President Trump acknowledged at a Fox News town hall in South Carolina that Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, Kristi Noem, Bryon Donalds and Tulsi Gabbard are on his running mate shortlist.

GREENVILLE, S.C. Former President Trump indicated that at least a half a dozen contenders – including three former rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – are on his shortlist for running mate.

The commanding frontrunner for the GOP nomination had plenty of praise for one of those potential candidates who joined Trump at Fox News town hall on Tuesday in this upstate South Carolina city.

During the program, which ran on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump was asked about half a dozen potential running mate choices: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat turned independent.


“Are they all on your shortlist?” host Laura Ingraham asked the former president.

“They are,” Trump answered. “Honestly, all of those people are good. They’re all good, they’re all solid.”

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Trump has a history of making comments off the cuff, and many in the political world see DeSantis as Trump’s running mate as a stretch, since the two and their camps blasted each other for over a year before the Florida governor suspended his 2024 campaign last month just ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

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DeSantis endorsed Trump at the time but has not joined him on the campaign trail in the ensuing weeks. In fact, DeSantis was also in South Carolina on Tuesday for an official event and did not team up with Trump.

Ramaswamy, who has long been a strong supporter of Trump’s America First agenda, dropped his White House bid last month after the Iowa caucuses and endorsed the former president. He has teamed up with Trump multiple times since then and will campaign on behalf of Trump in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, suspended his presidential bid in November and enthusiastically endorsed Trump in New Hampshire last month. He has also joined the former president on the campaign trail in South Carolina the past two weeks.

Scott – as he arrived at the Greenville Convention Center – received a warm welcome from the large crowd of mostly Trump supporters in the audience.

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“A lot of people are talking about that gentleman right over there,” Trump said, as he pointed to Scott, who was sitting in the front row of the audience. 

“He’s been such a great advocate. I have to say this in a very positive way, Tim Scott, he has been much better for me than he was for himself. I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself. But boy does he talk about Trump,” th former president said of Scott. “I called him and I said, ‘Tim, you’re better for me than you were for yourself.’”

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Of the other three on the list that Trump acknowledged, the conservative Noem is a longtime strong Trump supporter and surrogate, as is Donalds, a Black congressman on the right who is a top Trump ally in the House.

Gabbard, who served in the Iraq War and ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, became increasingly critical of her party after she left Congress. Two years ago, Gabbard became an independent and has become a favorite among conservatives.

The Trump town hall was held four days before Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, where polls indicate Trump maintains a very large double-digit lead over his last remaining major rival – former U.N. ambassador and former Palmetto State Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley, in a speech in Greenville a couple of hours before Trump landed in the city, said that “some of you – perhaps a few of you in the media – came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it.”

“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized.

She added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

When asked about Haley’s comments, Trump said during the Fox News town hall that “you’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen anyway, and she’s losing it bigly.”

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“I don’t think she knows how to get out,” Trump surmised. “She just can’t get herself to get out.”

Trump reiterated that he has ruled out Haley as his running mate.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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