Former President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his shortlist for vice president includes former candidates Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy, and even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom he hit particularly hard over the last several months. Other names reportedly include former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

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These names were actually part of a list assembled by news anchor Laura Ingraham, which she posed to Trump at a Fox town hall event. “Honestly all of those people are good,” the former president replied when asked if any of the candidates were in the running. “They’re all good, they’re all solid.”

Trump was particularly positive about Tim Scott.

“A lot of people are talking about that gentleman right over there,” he said, motioning to him in the audience. “He’s been such a great advocate. I have to say this in a very positive way, Tim Scott, he has been much better for me than he was for himself. I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself. But boy does he talk about Trump. … I called him and I said, ‘Tim, you’re better for me than you were for yourself.’”

The fact that Trump assented to DeSantis as a possible pick raised eyebrows. In an audio recording of a private call with top supporters leaked to the press on Wednesday, DeSantis reportedly said he was not remotely interested in serving as vice president and mocked Trump for playing into “identity politics” in his list of choices.

“People were mentioning me [as a potential vice president]. I am not doing that,” DeSantis said. “I know some people are really actively seeking it. It seems to me, just from watching kind of the body language and stuff, that you have a handful of folks who seem to be auditioning for it.”

He continued:

Now we have a diverse Republican Party. I want everybody in the fold, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want people representing 10, 15 percent of the party being in the driver’s seat. … So I would want somebody that, if something happened, the people that voted us in would have been pleased to know that they’re going to continue the mission … I’m not sure that those are going to necessarily be the criteria that Donald Trump uses. … I have heard that they’re looking more in identity politics. I think that’s a mistake. I think you should just focus on who the best person for the job would be, and then do that accordingly.

Trump did not name South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as a possibility, even though she remains in the race and is pursuing a vocally oppositional strategy against him. Haley hopes to win her home state of South Carolina in the primary scheduled for this Saturday, but early polling indicates this is an unlikely outcome.

“How do you win your first state?” Fox host Harris Faulkner questioned Haley this morning.

“I mean, it’s amazing to say I haven’t won a state yet. You only have three states that have voted—we need to go in and let these states…”

“Well, it’s not amazing. South Carolina is winner-take-all!” Faulkner shot back, referring to the fact that all Republican delegates in the state will be awarded to the victor. If Haley does not defeat Trump, she will be trailing far behind him.

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

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