Former President Donald Trump is giving serious consideration to choosing a woman as his running mate, with Kari Lake at the top of his short list, according to Axios.
Citing people who have discussed the matter with Trump, the outlet reports that the former president already is strategizing for the 2024 general election and is aware he needs to perform better among white suburban women.
Lake is a former TV anchor who lost the governor's race in Arizona last November, but she has demonstrated that she is willing to defend Trump emphatically, regardless of the topic, and that gives her a significant edge with the former president, who prizes loyalty.
Trump allies told Axios that the former president does not want to run the risk of his running mate eclipsing him, however. Despite her valuable qualities, Lake could be perceived as aiming for the presidency, especially in light of her political trip to Iowa last month.
Her failed bid for the Arizona governorship doesn't help, either.
With his vice presidential pick, Trump essentially is looking for a female version of former Vice President Mike Pence: steadfastly loyal and innocuous enough to not draw away attention from Trump.
The former president and his former No. 2 have been estranged since the breach of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Some people within Trump's orbit say former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley would be the best choice. Haley served as Trump's ambassador to the United Nations and is the most well-known declared challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also could be a good fit.
The New York Times reported that Trump asked Huckabee, his former press secretary, for an endorsement on a call weeks ago. She said she would not yet do so, leaving open an opportunity to endorse him in the future.
According to Axios, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also has been flagged by Trump's inner circle has having strong vice president potential.
The Trump camp pushed back on claims that he's close to picking a running mate.
"Anyone who thinks they know what President Trump is going to do is seriously misinformed and trying to curry favor with 'potential' VP candidates," Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told Axios.
"President Trump will choose his running mate on his own time, and those who are playing the media game are doing so at their own peril."
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