OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump delivered his highly-anticipated “big announcement” on Tuesday night and declared he’s making another run for the White House. The 45th president filed the formal paperwork and told a crowd at Mar-a-Lago that “America’s comeback starts right now.”
While Trump settled the issue of whether he would run again, new questions emerged about who he may choose as a running mate. Politico reported last year that according to an unnamed Trump adviser, the former president is likely to choose a running mate “from three general lanes of candidates: women, conservatives of color or a trusted adviser.”
One person, in particular, might be emerging as a potential early contender for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.
On Wednesday, Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds was elected as the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association.
The RGA is excited to announce that our Iowa 👸 is the new chair of @GOPGovs.
We’re excited and ready for your leadership 🇺🇸🐘 pic.twitter.com/rYtewips72
— The RGA (@GOPGovs) November 17, 2022
According to a 2021 article in The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of the Christian conservative organization the Family Leader, said Reynolds would make an excellent vice president.
“As a matter of fact, I think she would be a great presidential candidate right now,” Vander Plaats said. “She has a lot of stock across the country of how she has led during COVID, how she has led through the racial unrest, and a lot of other things.”
“Iowa in many ways has been a model. I watched her on Laura Ingraham’s [Fox News] show with five different governors, and she just stood out,” he continued. “So I think Gov. Reynolds — obviously, it’s up to her, she’s not going to run for president — but she would make a very compelling VP choice.”
In February, a Washington Post column described Reynolds as a possible “Republican star on the rise.”
In addition to Reynolds, media reports have also suggested Trump could be considering Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik.
According to Robert Draper, a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Trump is seriously eying Greene.
Draper said in an interview with The Daily Beast’s “New Abnormal” podcast “that Greene had risen quickly in her first term in Congress by using the same tactics she honed as a right-wing social media influencer harassing Democratic staffers, and she could shoot to the second-highest office in government,” Raw Story reported.
“Republicans kind of wanted to kick her to the curb immediately,” said Draper, per the outlet. “But instead, she became a fundraising dynamo, came to have this huge social media influence, and ultimately came to be very influential within the party itself.”
Draper went on to say that Trump has been seriously discussing Greene as a potential VP since February, and though he has likely considered others as well, Greene has another quality that may propel her to the top, the report said.
“She has been unflaggingly loyal to Trump throughout,” Draper said. “What is Trump concerned about most of all in a VP after the Mike Pence experience? Loyalty. He knows that if he needs someone to fight for him to overturn a presidential election. He has every reason to expect that Greene would be by his side and would be his proximate warrior.”
Greene is not the only female Republican lawmaker under consideration by Trump, according to previous reports. Several recent reports seem focused on one name: New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, currently her party’s No. 3 ranking member.
In a September Foreign Policy story titled, “Elise Stefanik Is Most Likely to Succeed,” the authors detail, “A young woman once hailed as the future of the Republican Party embraces Trumpism to stay that way.”
Meanwhile, in late May, CNN published a report speculating that Stefanik is high on the “running mate list.”
While talk about a 2024 vice-presidential pick is of course premature, conversations about adding Stefanik to a future Trump ticket have gained steam in recent weeks at Mar-a-Lago and in other Republican circles, sources said. Current and former advisers and others in Trump’s orbit have privately argued that the New York Republican, who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney as the no. 3 House Republican last year, is a fierce and loyal attack dog, and Trump would benefit from tapping a woman for vice president should he run again.
Two people familiar with the matter said Trump has been surveying close friends and allies on what they think of Stefanik, one of several Republican women he is possibly eyeing for the potential VP slot, though he has not ruled out a few male contenders, too. One of these people said the former President believes Stefanik has undergone a genuine transformation – leaving the moderate wing of the party to join its increasingly powerful “America First” flank.
“There is a part of Trump who thinks he needs a female VP. He definitely likes her, likely because of how effusive she is to him,” an adviser to the former president said.