Report: Trump Has a Surprising Top VP Contender

GOP 'rising star' Sen. Tom Cotton is on the shortlist, per 'NYT'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2024 8:52 AM CDT
Report: Trump Has a New Top Contender for VP
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism ranking member Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., left, speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, to examine forced labor in prisons.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Donald Trump has reportedly narrowed down his list of potential running mates to five men. (Sorry, Kristi Noem.) North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and Ohio Sen. JD Vance are among the bunch, but Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is a "top contender," the New York Times reports, citing "three people with direct knowledge" of Trump's thinking. Trump has declined to name his top choices but said Rubio, Vance, Ben Carson, and Rep. Elise Stefanik would all "do a really fantastic job" in a Thursday interview with News 12.

His apparent preference for Cotton, viewed as one of the Republican Party's "rising stars," stems from his desire to select a running mate with "little risk of creating unwanted distractions," per the Times. Trump reportedly likes the senator's background—including a Harvard education and military service in Iraq and Afghanistan—and his manner of communicating in cable news interviews. And as a traditional Republican, Cotton could help sway voters who "might be put off by the selection of an inexperienced MAGA loyalist," like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, per the Times.

No matter who Trump selects, Democrats plan to paint them as "backing an 'ultra-MAGA' policy agenda," based on their stances on abortion and claims of fraud in the 2020 election, per Axios. Cotton went against Trump, voting to certify the election results, but has backed a nationwide ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. With five months to go until November, Cotton isn't counting his chickens just yet. "I suspect only Donald Trump knows who is really on his short list," he told Fox News' Bret Baier on Monday. Trump previously said he expected to make his choice "probably not too much before" the Republican National Convention, which begins July 15. (More Tom Cotton stories.)

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