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Who is Trump’s running mate? Key questions after Trump’s 2024 announcement

Here are the key questions raised by Trump’s comeback bid

Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 16 November 2022 03:38 GMT
Donald Trump launches 2024 presidential campaign

After months of teasing a third campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump is now officially seeking an Oval Office comeback.

Mr Trump’s entry into the 2024 Republican presidential primary just one week after a disastrous result in the 2022 midterm elections is no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to his public appearances over the last two years.

The twice-impeached ex-president never stopped holding his signature campaign rallies, and has never stopped raising funds for his Save America political action committee (but won’t have access to those funds as a presidential candidate).

But after most of Mr Trump chosen candidates for Senate and a handful of key governor’s races fell flat against their Democratic opponents, his road back to the White House may not be so smooth this time.

Here are some key questions the president’s new bid raises:

Who will he choose as his vice-presidential pick this time?

Well, it won’t be Mike Pence. Mr Trump’s loyal sidekick from his first term became persona non grata in “Maga Country” after he refused to illegally hijack the certification of 2020 electoral votes to install the ex-president in the White House for a second term.

Mr Trump hasn’t indicated who he might consider choosing as a running-mate this time, but people close to him say his one and only criteria will be whether the person he picks will exhibit complete and total loyalty to him.

But because he needs to win the nomination first, we won’t know who he’ll pick until the 2024 Republican National Convention — if he is the GOP nominee.

Kristi Noem, a key ally of Mr Trump’s, may be considered for the role, after she cruised to reelection as governor of South Dakota last week. Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina who later served as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, could also be tapped for the job. A number of other potential 2024 candidates – from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Sen Tom Cotton – could be tapped for the role. Perhaps even Kari Lake, who just lost her race for Arizona governor, could fit the bill. However, Mr Trump has not tipped his hand on who he favours at this point.

Did Trump’s family attend his reelection announcement?

Mr Trump’s wife, Melania, attended the event, along with sons Barron Trump, Eric Trump and daughter-in-law Lara Trump. Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law, also attended, despite reports earlier on Tuesday that he was not likely to attend.

Has anyone endorsed him yet?

At this point, only a few die-hard supporters have said Mr Trump should be the GOP standard-bearer against Joe Biden in 2024.

One of them is Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, who won re-election last week, just weeks after reports emerged that the Department of Justice won’t be charging him after a long-running probe into whether he allegedly trafficked an underage girl for sex.

Another is Elise Stefanik, the New York congresswoman who on Tuesday won a second term as the chair of the House Republican Conference.

JD Vance, who just won his Senate race in Ohio, heaped praise on Mr Trump after Election Day.

“Every year, the media writes Donald Trump’s political obituary. And every year, we’re quickly reminded that Trump remains the most popular figure in the Republican Party,” Mr Vance told the New York Times.

As Mr Trump has tip-toed towards his 2024 announcement, his relationship with Florida Gov Ron DeSantis has gotten testy, as the Florida governor eyes a presidential bid of his own. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell posted a video from Mr Trump’s event on Tuesday, predicting the Florida governor would actually endorse Mr Trump after seeing the former president’s statement.

Attending the former president’s event were a slate of his most die-hard allies, including outgoing Rep Madison Cawthorn, Roger Stone, Mr Lindell, among others.

Is he allowed to run?

Yes, Mr Trump was subject to two separate impeachment trials before the US Senate, but he was never convicted at either of them.

And because he wasn’t convicted, the Senate never had to vote on whether to bar him from holding federal office in the future.

He’s also not term-limited because he didn’t win the 2020 election, and under the constitution’s term limits he is allowed to serve a maximum of eight years as president.

But a number of good government and anti-Trump groups have pledged to try to keep him off the ballot under a provision in the 14th Amendment that bars anyone who supported “insurrection” against the US from holding office, on account of his role in fomenting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Several challenges to congressional candidates using that provision failed this year, but a judge in New Mexico used a similar state constitution provision to disqualify a county commissioner who’d been at the Capitol on January 6.

Why is Trump announcing now?

According to people close to the ex-president, the timing of his campaign announcement is being driven by a desire to insulate himself from the myriad investigations into his conduct.

Not only is he under investigation by the Fulton County, Georgia district attorney’s office for his attempt to overturn 2020 election results there, but the Department of Justice has two separate grand jury probes looking into his actions around the January 6 attack and the attempts to submit forged electoral college certificates to the National Archives, as well as his alleged violations of US laws governing the handling of national defence information and prohibiting obstruction of justice.

Mr Trump is said to believe announcing himself as a presidential candidate will make it harder for the Department of Justice to indict him for any crimes he may have committed — and easier for him to claim any attempt to hold him accountable under the law is a politically-motivated attack meant to derail his campaign.

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