Mar 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kari Lake among 4 women Trump's considering for VP pick


Kari Lake of Arizona kisses a portrait of former President Trump after speaking at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Friday. Photo: Nathan Howard/Reuters

Former President Trump is strongly considering picking a female running mate — and sees Kari Lake as a model for his vice presidential pick, according to people who discussed the topic with him.

Why it matters: Trump is already gaming out the general election in November 2024 — and knows he has a massive weakness with the white suburban women he would need to beat President Biden.

Lake, a former TV anchor who lost her race for Arizona governor in November, meets Trump's most important qualification for a No. 2:

  • She has shown she's willing to defend him vociferously, no matter the issue or controversy.
  • But Trump friends say Lake carries a big downside: He wants no risk that his running mate could outshine him. Lake would be assumed to be angling for president from the day she entered the White House. She made a political trip to Iowa last month.
  • And, of course, losing her winnable governor's race (which she challenged) hurts her mojo.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said: "Anyone who thinks they know what President Trump is going to do is seriously misinformed and trying to curry favor with 'potential' V.P. candidates."

  • "President Trump will choose his running mate on his own time, and those who are playing the media game are doing so at their own peril."

Between the lines: The characteristics Trump is most looking for are, ironically, quite like former Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he's no longer on speaking terms.

  • Trump wants someone who is unfailingly loyal — and bland enough that they don't steal any spotlight.

Some close to Trump think Nikki Haley — former South Carolina governor and his ambassador to the U.N. — might be the best fit.

  • She's his best-known declared opponent for the GOP nomination. He calculates she doesn't take a single vote from him.

Another strong fit might be Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was Trump's White House press secretary.

  • Trump recently asked her for an endorsement in the presidential race and she demurred, as the N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman reported.
  • But Sanders left an opening to embrace Trump if he looks like a winner.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also is frequently mentioned by Trump confidants as having strong veep potential.

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