Are GOP Presidential Candidates Leaving The Door Open To Be Trump’s Pick For VP?

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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While the majority of the Republican presidential field has dismissed the idea that they would potentially take a position as former President Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024, there may be some wiggle room.

Trump currently enjoys a 50-point lead on the field in the national RealClearPolitics (RCP) average, and is also ahead by double digits in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina a month ahead of primary voting season. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson all say they wouldn’t accept a vice presidential nomination from Trump, while former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have poured water on the notion that they are campaigning for second place.

However, when asked by the DCNF if they would rule out being Trump’s pick for vice president, both Ramaswamy and Haley’s campaign did not directly answer.

During a New Hampshire town hall on Dec. 15, DeSantis said that he wouldn’t accept a running-mate position with Trump “under any circumstances,” adding that he’d “rather be governor than vice president — no question.” The governor also took aim at Haley for not providing a clear answer on the issue.

“She will not answer directly, and she owes you an answer to this, will she accept a vice presidential nomination from Donald Trump? Yes or no,” pressed DeSantis. (RELATED: ‘That’s Just Poison’: Tucker Carlson Gives One Reason He’d Oppose Trump’s Reelection)

Haley’s campaign maintained that she is focused on winning the nomination in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, but did not explicitly rule out being Trump’s running mate if she loses.

“Phony Ron DeSantis has spent ten times more money attacking Nikki Haley than Donald Trump. He’ll say anything to try to salvage his sinking ship of a campaign. Nikki has been very clear from day one, she doesn’t play for second. Ron is trying to play for fourth in New Hampshire,” Olivia Perez-Cubas, spokesperson for the Haley campaign, told the DCNF.

Haley has seen a surge in the New Hampshire polls ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 23, with one CBS News survey released Sunday finding her with 29% support behind Trump’s 44%. While DeSantis placed in third with 11% in the CBS News poll, he is in fourth in the RCP average behind Christie.

Vivek Ramaswamy, who frequently compliments Trump’s leadership but argues he’s the candidate who can move the “America First” agenda forward, has signaled that he would not take a vice president role.

The businessman’s campaign pointed the DCNF toward a mid-November podcast interview with Valuetainment’s Patrick Bet-David where Ramaswamy said he’s “not a plan B person” when asked about the prospect of running as Trump’s vice president.

Ramaswamy previously said in August that he would reject a vice president position.

Conversely, DeSantis, Christie and Hutchinson have all ruled out taking such a position.

DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin touted the campaign’s new website accusing Haley of having vice presidential aspirations in a statement to the DCNF.

“As illustrated on our new microsite at TrumpNikki2024.com, Nikki Haley is so committed to her VP ambitions that she refuses to spend a dime attacking Donald Trump, despite MAGA Inc’s new ad accurately blasting her for being a tax-hiking liberal,” Griffin said, referring to the former president’s super PAC’s TV spot in New Hampshire.

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - DECEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participates in the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on December 6, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The four presidential hopefuls squared off during the fourth Republican primary debate without current frontrunner and former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declined to participate in any of the previous debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – DECEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participates in the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Christie is one of Trump’s biggest critics, and has largely centered his campaign around attacking the former president directly, while taking aim at other candidates for not doing the same.

“The campaign and the governor’s comments on Trump’s conduct should be a clear enough reason why he wouldn’t,” a Christie campaign spokesperson told the DCNF.

Christie echoed DeSantis’ earlier comments on the matter, and criticized Haley for not ruling out being Trump’s running mate in a social media post.

Hutchinson, another anti-Trump Republican, said he’d decline the position as he wouldn’t want to be involved in a second Trump administration.

“I would not accept a vice president running mate offer from [Trump] because I am running for president and I do not support the vendetta agenda of a 2nd Trump administration or his ‘ring around America’ protectionist plan that would hurt our businesses, our farmers, and American families,” Hutchinson told the DCNF.

Several other Republicans not running for president have been floated as potential vice presidential picks for Trump, including Daily Caller News Foundation co-founder Tucker Carlson, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, former Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, indicates Trump has 63% support, followed by DeSantis with 11.8%, Haley with 11.6%, Ramaswamy with 4.4%, Christie with 2.7% and Hutchinson with 0.8%.

The former president is also ahead by double digits in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to the RCP. Trump continues to lead President Joe Biden in national and battleground state polls, and has a 3-point lead in the RCP average.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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