Who Would Want to Be Donald Trump’s VP? – If one were to believe the polls (and I don’t know why anyone would think polls taken this early in an election year are accurate), former President Donald Trump is winning the GOP Presidential Primary bigly.
He’s dozens of points ahead of the nearest other Republican presidential candidate, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, and is behaving as though he already has the nomination. Trump has refused to show up for the first two Republican primary debates, he’s so confident in his lead.
Despite his braggadocio, though, Trump continues to behave belligerently with his GOP rivals—notably DeSantis.
When Trump was recently asked by a reporter if he’d be willing to make DeSantis his VP nominee, the forty-fifth president scoffingly replied, “Does anybody see any VP in that group [of Republican candidates]? I don’t think so.”
To which, DeSantis retorted the same response he’s given similar questions as to whether he’d be willing to become Trump’s vice-presidential pick: “No, I’m running for president.”
Ron DeSantis Doesn’t Do First Place Loser
DeSantis is a winner at heart and will not countenance any compromise with a competitor, especially one who has behaved as dishonorably in the Republican primary as Trump has. Besides, DeSantis is no fool. He understands the endless array of humiliations that Trump’s number two will be subjected to.
Just look at Mike Pence, who is also running for president in 2024 (and stands no chance whatsoever).
I had long opposed Pence as vice-president, given his neoconservative bearing. And I believe Pence betrayed the first Trump White House national security adviser, Mike Flynn.
But Pence was an insanely obsequious vice-president to Trump.
Yet, Pence was embarrassed, hectored, humiliated, and inevitably had his life threatened on January 6 by Trump and his supporters (or so the media—and Pence himself—claims) for not being so obsequious as to follow Trump down the rabbit hole of alleged insurrection.
Ron DeSantis understands fully what the acceptance of becoming Trump’s VP would mean. It would mean his permanent destruction as a viable political contender.
Two Residents of the Same State Can’t Run Together Anyway
What’s more, because he has basically become the stuff of Trump’s nightmares, there’s no way that Trump would do anything other than sabotage DeSantis and degrade his standing with GOP voters beyond what he’s already done now.
Besides, under the Twelfth Amendment of the United States Constitution, two candidates from the state are disallowed from running on the ticket together. There are, of course, legal scholars who argue differently.
Suffice to say, though, DeSantis or Trump would have to change their residences months before the General Election vote was set to take place to avoid running afoul of this standard. Since DeSantis is still the governor of Florida, it would be unfeasible for him to change residences.
And considering that Trump explicitly moved down to Florida for tax purposes, the likelihood of him changing his residency status is very low—especially given the animus he has toward DeSantis.
DeSantis’ Long Game
Not only is DeSantis not going to be Trump’s VP choice, but he should also not seek to be made that. Should the polls in the GOP primary prove accurate and Trump be made the candidate in 2024, DeSantis should return to Florida, and finish his time in the Governor’s Mansion out.
From there, DeSantis should calmly plot his next moves until he can feasibly run for the presidency again. What he cannot do is take the political scraps that Trump might offer him from his table. They will be poisonous.
Anyway, DeSantis isn’t cowardly enough or lacking in self-respect the way that any possible Trump VP nominee would have to be to get the job. Pence’s self-abasement was legendary until January 6.
Kari Lake, MTG, or Nikki Haley, These are Trump’s Likely VP Picks
Trump would demand similar self-abasement from his next VP, plus he’d need a woman to win over at least some of the female demographic he does so poorly with. That leaves the likes of gonzo Kari Lake, unstable Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), or Nikki Haley.
Trump has been doing his best to distance himself away from Lake, who is a perennial loser. MTG has aggravated the MAGA base by engaging in random acts of sanity in the last year.
Haley, I suspect, is going to be Trump’s VP pick, as he is going to lose to DeSantis in Iowa and struggle (against her) in New Hampshire. He’ll need Haley, a former successful governor of South Carolina, to help him win South Carolina and stop the challenges from the Right to his reelection bid.
DeSantis is all-in this election cycle. He cannot even think about abandoning his presidential aspirations to serve a man, like Donald Trump, who will work tirelessly to destroy Florida’s governor.
Let the clowns of the party vie with each other for Trump’s fickle affections. If 2024 doesn’t work out, DeSantis can chart an independent course from Trump, and end up being the last Republican standing come 2028.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.