OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds gave a strong hint on Sunday that he wouldn’t mind being former President Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate.
Trump is the Republican frontrunner with a commanding lead despite facing multiple criminal indictments. It’s expected that Trump will run against Joe Biden for president in the 2024 election.
During a Sunday morning interview on Fox News, host Maria Bartiromo asked the Republican lawmaker if he would be interested in serving as Trump’s number two aide.
Bartiromo asked: “Congressman, I want to switch gears real quick. Ask you about 2024, because I know some people would have liked to see you get the gavel and become speaker, but others say, well, maybe you have a different road ahead. Would you accept the vice president position if Donald Trump asked you to be his partner?”
“Well, look, Maria, first of all, I’ll tell you first Speaker Mike Johnson, I am happy for him. He’s going to do a tremendous job leading the House of Representatives. You have a man of impeccable character, impeccable integrity, and the members have rallied around him,” Donalds responded.
“We’re going to get back to work and do our jobs with respect to being potentially on the ticket. That’s really up to the president. I have no control over that. The only thing I’ll say is I just want to do whatever I can to get our country on track. That’s what I’ve always been committed to. So no matter what the role is, it’s about getting our country back on track,” he added.
While Donalds is still a relatively new member of Congress, he is already a rising star in the Republican party. During all the chaos surrounding the speakership, other lawmakers and commentators have been pushing for Donalds to be promoted to leadership roles in the House.
If he were to win the nomination, Trump has not said who he would choose as his running mate.
Trump recently indicated that he does not see much potential for a running mate among the current crop of Republican candidates contending for the 2024 nomination.
During a recent speech in Michigan, Trump referred to the GOP candidates congregated in California for the second Republican primary debate as “all job candidates.”
“They’ll do anything: secretary of something, they even say VP. Has anyone seen a VP in that group? I don’t think so,” Trump told the crowd at an auto parts plant in Clinton Township.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, told The Washington Post in an email on Thursday that Trump “was very clear in his remarks” but did not directly address whether the former president is excluding all seven candidates from the debate.
However, one name might be high on his “VP list” — South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.
During a recent interview, Trump said of Noem: “I think she’s fantastic. She’s been a great governor. She gave me a very full-throated endorsement, a beautiful endorsement. It’s been a very good state for me, and certainly, she would be one of the people I would consider for something else, maybe. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party.”
Trump teased that he liked “the concept” of selecting a woman as his running mate, but that he’s also looking for “the right person.”
“You always do a little bit, but I don’t think it’s time,” Trump said. “I want to win, and, you know, it’s very interesting about running mates, when you get down to a vice president, they said, ‘Nobody has ever made that kind of a difference.’ It’s still about the person that’s going to be president.”
A recent report from Roll Call speculated that Trump’s “VP list” is likely down to these five Republicans, with Noem’s name likely being near the top:
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
Arizona Republican Kari Lake
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik