Trump shares blunt criticism of VP contenders at donor retreat: report

 May 7, 2024

Donald Trump shared some of his most blunt criticism of potential VP picks during a donor retreat at Mar-A-Lago that doubled as an audition, the Washington Post reported. 

In leaked audio, Trump discussed the pros and cons of those who made the pilgrimage, including Marco Rubio, J.D. Vance, and Kristi Noem.

Trump gets serious about VP search

Trump called Senator Rubio (R-FL) a "talented guy" but noted he has a "minor Florida problem."

The 12th Amendment bars a president and vice president from residing in the same state as the electors. Both Trump and Rubio live in Florida, a critical state with a rich haul of electoral votes.

Rubio hasn't ruled out moving to a new state to circumvent the issue.

Trump, who is known to value loyalty, also showed that he has not forgotten Senator J.D. Vance's (R-OH) past as a Never Trumper, although Trump hinted that he has forgiven him since his evolution into a pro-Trump senator.

"J.D. has turned out to be incredible. You know, he wasn't a supporter of mine. It shows you I can change him. He was saying things like, 'This guy's a total disaster,'" Trump said.

Scott "dull," Noem gets praise

The donor retreat began with a panel event where different candidates had the chance to make their elevator pitches.

Rubio, a foreign policy hawk, spoke about foreign policy; Senator Tim Scott talked about the economy and winning the black vote; and New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik discussed her successful culture war against Ivy League university presidents.

Scott, known for his mild, affable demeanor, was "a little bit dull" during his low-key presidential campaign last year, Trump said, but has been "unbelievable" since dropping out and becoming a Trump surrogate.

Noem has widely been written off after she confessed to shooting a dog in her memoir, but Trump gave unqualified praise to the South Dakota governor (R), a longtime supporter of his.

"Somebody that I love. She's been with me, a supporter of mine and I've been a supporter of hers for a long time," Trump said.

Trump also called Stefanik a "smart person" and complimented "very rich" North Dakota governor Doug Burgum (R), who like Trump is a billionaire.

Trump is expected to name a candidate before the Republican convention in July.

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