We only think Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other Republican politicians are mapping out presidential campaigns. Roger Stone, longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump, said it's all a show, Politico reports. "There's no question that people running for president are really running for vice president all the time," Stone said. "The key is to make it look like you're not running for vice president." They're auditioning to be chosen by Trump for the 2024 ticket, Stone said. "And Trump is paying attention."
It's not an easy race to handicap, because Trump isn't interested in the conventional wisdom about balancing the ticket geographically, ideologically, or any other way—the sort of thinking that led him to pick Mike Pence in 2016. There's no particular part of the party he has to please now. "He is the party, basically. It's so united behind him," said Trump pollster John McLaughlin. Advisers say the qualifications are unwavering loyalty to Trump and support for the false claim that Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election, per Politico. "It would be a much more personal decision this time," McLaughlin said. If he runs, the choice "will come down to what he wants," McLaughlin said.
Trump has mentioned DeSantis as a possible choice. But a Trump adviser said Trump considers DeSantis a competitor. "And he's not going to have someone with better numbers," the adviser said. Pompeo wants to be president, which aides said bothers Trump. Sen. Tim Scott recently visited Trump, whose aides say the meeting went well. Scott, who would bring fundraising ability, said recently he's not interested in the No. 2 job, per the Hill. Trump's camp said there are no favorites, even as the possibilities make the trip to Florida. "They're all begging me," Trump told an adviser. "They all come here." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)