OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Donald Trump is hitting back this week about reports from the media claiming that former First Lady Melania Trump will not be returning to the White House in 2024 if he runs for president again and wins.
During a wide-ranging interview on Fox News, the 45th president ripped those reports as “fake news.”
“Is it true that the former First Lady Melania Trump has told you: ‘I’m not going back if you run again?’” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Trump.
“No, that’s not true,” Trump responded. “More fake news.”
“She was a great first lady, she did a great job. She loves the people, they love her,” Trump added of his wife. “I see how they love her.”
Trump has not officially announced a 2024 presidential run, but it appears that he may be building a “campaign in waiting.”
Trump insiders have said he’s started the process of considering possible running mates.
“A lot of times, a presidential candidate will pick a running mate to balance out wings of the party. But with Trump, that’s not the issue. He is the party, basically. It’s so united behind him,” said John McLaughlin, one of Trump’s campaign pollsters. “So his choice, if he runs, will come down to what he wants. It would be a much more personal decision this time.”
“They’re all begging me. They all come here,” One adviser, who spoke anonymously with Politico, said Trump told them.
“Once you get past those two issues — loyalty and Trump going more with his gut — Trump has a lot of leeway in who he would pick,” said Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s lead pollster in 2016 and 2020.
“He’s not necessarily looking to balance the ticket geographically, but what he can do is pick to balance gender, race, ethnicity — a lot of different lanes there,” said Fabrizio, who is polling for a Trump-affiliated super PAC. “It could be everything from a Tim Scott in South Carolina to an Asian American in California, somebody Hispanic in Texas. There are so many choices and paths. And there’s lots of time to go.”
The report from Politico, which is based on information from Trump insiders, suggests a few names are high on the list:
According to the new Politico Article, the following people are high on Trump’s VP Shortlist:
– Mike Pompeo
– Tim Scott
– Marsha Blackburn
– Kim Reynolds
– Kristi Noem
– Mark Meadows
— Bush41Fan (@Patton41Fan) November 29, 2021
Those familiar with Trump’s thinking say his prospective vice president selection would likely draw from three general lanes of candidates: women, conservatives of color or a trusted adviser — or a “consigliere,” as one adviser described it.
Scott, the first elected Black senator from the South since the Reconstruction era, recently met with Trump in Palm Beach.
Within Trump’s orbit, there is a belief that a Black running mate could eat into Democratic margins in key swing states, and that Hispanic voters are showing more signs of being up for grabs — especially in crucial battlegrounds like Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Texas.
“It was a really warm interaction,” said one Republican observer in the room. “Scott was appropriately deferential without being gross, like some people are. What he said was thoughtful, and it was appreciated by the president. There was definitely chemistry there.”
The source also told Politico that Trump may choose a woman running mate, such as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds or Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
“Reynolds and Blackburn are definitely in the hunt,” the source added.
But he has given what could be his strongest hint yet in showing that he intends to become president again.
He talked with GB News host Nigel Farage at his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida where he talked about his love for the United States as the driving factor in his decision.
“Why on earth would [you] consider going into that hell again?” the host said.
“So I love our country,” the 45th President of the United States said. “If you love the country you have no choice. It’s not a question. I brought the country to a level its never seen before, then we had Covid come in, then I brought it back, came up with vaccines that you’re using were all using, the world is using.”
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Trump did not appear to be too concerned with the man many think would be his top rival for the nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” he said. ‘I don’t think I will face him. I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.”
If he is the Republican nominee that could be a nightmare for Biden because recent polls show that Trump defeats him head to head.