Sarah May
September 17, 2023

Trump talks running mate selection process with NBC's Kristen Welker

Currently the clear frontrunner in the Republican primary stakes, former President Donald Trump is naturally courting a great deal of speculation in terms of possible running mates, and in a recent conversation with Kristen Welker of NBC News, he dropped what could be seen as a hint about where his deliberations are going, as the Daily Caller notes.

Asked about the notion of selecting a female for the number-two spot on the Republican ticket for 2024, Trump made no bones about the fact that he “liked the concept,” spurring further questions about precisely what that might mean.

Picking “the best person”

While Trump confirmed that the idea of choosing a woman to join him in a run for the White House is something that interests him, he took pains to emphasize that gender is not a make-or-break factor in his final decision.

“I like the concept, but we're going to pick the best person. But I do like the concept, yes,” Trump said.

When Welker pressed further and asked if the former president was leaning strongly in the direction of asking a woman to join the ticket, he said he simply does not “think too much about it.”

Noem on deck?

There has been no shortage of speculation that Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem could be among the very top female contenders for the spot on a Republican ticket with Trump at the top, and that was a subject upon which the former president was willing to touch during his chat with Welker.

Trump did not hold back in his praise for Noem, saying, “She's been a great governor. She gave me a very full-throated endorsement, a beautiful endorsement actually,”

That was a reference to a GOP fundraiser held in Rapid City, Iowa earlier this month at which Noem told the assembled crowed, “I will do everything I can to help [Trump] win and save this country,” as the Associated Press reported at the time.

Speaking of South Dakota, Trump added, “And you know, it's been a very good state for me. And certainly, she'd be one of the people I'd consider, or for something else maybe.”

“But we have a lot of people. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party,” Trump added, perhaps attempting to throw Welker off the scent of his true vice-presidential considerations.

Derailed by scandal?

Noem's rising profile in the Republican Party took a potentially serious hit in recent days, however, with a Daily Mail report detailing allegations that she has been involved in a secret, extramarital affair with controversial Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski.

Though Noem's camp has denied claims of an illicit relationship, and the existence of such an entanglement would certainly be at odds with the governor's emphasis on conservative values, the true impact the rumored ties may have on her future in national politics still remains to be seen.

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