2024 Republican Contenders Navigate Vague Stance on Trump VP Offer as Election Momentum Builds

While a majority of the Republican presidential contenders have rejected the idea of potentially becoming former President Donald Trump’s running mate in the 2024 election, there seems to be some flexibility in their positions.

At present, Trump holds a commanding 50-point lead in the national RealClearPolitics (RCP) average and maintains double-digit leads in key states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, just a month ahead of the primary voting season. Despite this, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have all explicitly stated that they would not accept a vice-presidential nomination from Trump. Similarly, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have downplayed the notion of actively campaigning for the second spot.

However, when directly questioned by the DCNF about ruling out the possibility of being Trump’s vice president, both Ramaswamy and Haley’s campaigns did not provide direct answers.

During a recent town hall in New Hampshire, DeSantis categorically stated that he would not accept a running mate position with Trump under any circumstances, expressing a preference for being a governor over a vice president. He also criticized Haley for not offering a clear answer on the issue.

In response, Haley’s campaign emphasized her focus on winning the nomination and stated that she doesn’t play for second place. Yet, they did not explicitly rule out the possibility of her being Trump’s running mate if she loses.

Haley has experienced a surge in New Hampshire polls ahead of the state’s primary, with one CBS News survey placing her at 29% support, trailing behind Trump’s 44%. Meanwhile, DeSantis ranks in third place with 11%, according to the same poll.

Ramaswamy, who frequently praises Trump’s leadership but asserts himself as the candidate to advance the “America First” agenda, has signaled that he would not accept a vice-presidential role. His campaign referred to a mid-November podcast interview where Ramaswamy emphasized being a “plan A” person and expressed reluctance towards being a backup plan.

On the contrary, DeSantis, Christie, and Hutchinson have all unequivocally ruled out accepting a vice-presidential position. DeSantis’s press secretary highlighted a campaign website accusing Haley of harboring vice-presidential ambitions.

Christie, a vocal critic of Trump, centered his campaign around direct attacks on the former president and criticized Haley for not ruling out the possibility of being Trump’s running mate.

Hutchinson, another anti-Trump Republican, stated that he would decline the position, citing his presidential candidacy and opposition to what he perceives as the vendetta agenda of a potential second Trump administration.

Other Republicans not running for president, including Tucker Carlson, Kristi Noem, Elise Stefanik, Kari Lake, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have been suggested as potential vice-presidential picks for Trump.

As of late November to mid-December, the RCP average for the 2024 national Republican primary shows Trump with 63% support, followed by DeSantis at 11.8%, Haley at 11.6%, Ramaswamy at 4.4%, Christie at 2.7%, and Hutchinson at 0.8%. Trump maintains a double-digit lead in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, according to RCP, and continues to outpace President Joe Biden in national and battleground state polls.

Notably, Trump’s campaign did not respond to inquiries from the DCNF regarding these developments.

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