Tim Scott turns to Kellyanne Conway to back his push to be Trump’s VP pick

Ex-president’s 2016 campaign manager remains trusted advisor as Trump seeks loyalist running mate

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 16 May 2024 18:12
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Republican Tim Scott suspends presidential campaign

Former 2024 Republican candidate and South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, is lobbying hard among Donald Trump’s inner circle in the hopes of becoming his pick for vice president.

Scott is leaning on Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, as he pushes himself as the top choice, The Daily Beast reported on Thursday.

His private lobbying effort is coupled with a very public one - Scott has hit cable news and declared in recent days that he would do “whatever it takes” for the man who worked to overturn the 2020 election and is facing 88 felony counts.

“Tim and Kellyanne have gotten close because, as she puts it, she is de facto head of Trump world—like Trump’s security blanket,” one Scott ally told The Daily Beast. “People underestimate how much the president relies on her counsel and they doubt her influence at their own peril.”

Ms Conway retains Mr Trump’s ear, and is pushing two candidates for his running mate considerations: Scott, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the outlet reported.

She worked as an advisor during Mr Trump’s unsuccessful 2020 re-election bid and is back on board as he seeks the White House in 2024.The Independent has contacted Ms Conway for comment.

Kellyanne Conway ran Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for the presidency and retains his ear in 2024 (Getty Images)

“President Trump seeks the counsel of many men and women on the VP pick, but he and he alone will decide,” Conway said in a statement to the Beast.

The two have been spotted dining in Washington DC recently. Conway openly urged the former president to “choose a person of color” to run with him in a February op-ed for The New York Times.

Marco Rubio, who ran against Trump in 2016 before bowing out, has remained a loyal supporter of the former president.

Like Scott, he has made statements minimising Trump’s responsibility for the January 6 attack on the Capitol — a crucial bar the former president has set for Republicans seeking his favour this time around.

Rubio said that he would be “honored” to be selected for the role of vice president in March.

Scott, meanwhile, has openly lobbied for the role in TV interviews and has already joined Trump at numerous campaign stops since bowing out of the presidential race last November.

Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, and Vivek Ramaswamy attend an event for Donald Trump ahead of the New Hampshire primary in January 2024 (Getty Images)

In January, he famously declared that he “loved” the former president when he was questioned by Trump in front of the cameras whether he “hated” the former president’s remaining rival Nikki Haley.

That display of loyalty has kept Scott high on the shortlist of potential VP contenders.

Mr Trump seemed to hint at selecting the South Carolina senator in February when he revealed during a Fox News interview that he had called Scott to praise him.

“I called Tim Scott and I told him ‘you’re a much better candidate for me than you are for yourself, ” he said.

Trump’s selection of a running mate will be all the more important in 2024 given that the former president will be spending significant time wrapped up in court proceedings related to his hush money trial in New York along with other criminal proceedings.

Mr Trump is believed to be narrowing his shortlist to explicit loyalists after his last vice president, Mike Pence, famously defied him on January 6 and refused to interfere with the Senate certification of the results of the 2020 election.

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