Already a member? Log In

The Apprentice

Trump is downplaying the importance of a vice presidential pick, which suggests he’ll ultimately select someone competent and boring—you know, the Mike Pence type.
Donald Trump is downplaying the importance of a vice presidential pick, which suggests he’ll ultimately select someone competent and boring—you know, the Mike Pence type. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
January 29, 2024

Like it or not, the “Veepstakes” are here. With the Republican nomination more or less in his grasp, Donald Trump and his advisers are already mulling over who to pick as his running mate—in January, almost a year before the election. Trump was even talking about it before the Iowa caucuses. “I mean, I know who it’s going to be,” he said during a Fox News town hall on January 10, without going into much detail. Trump gave Bret Baier some more color, in typical Trump circuitous and elliptical locution, a few weeks later in New Hampshire, suggesting he’s close to making up his mind. “The person that I think I like is a very good person, a pretty standard. I think people won’t be that surprised, but I would say there’s probably a 25 percent chance that would be that person.”

The chatter around the vice presidential search, obsessed over by the press every four years, is often derided as an overhyped and silly guessing game, the product of bored reporters and TV personalities paying way too much attention to a closely-held decision that ultimately won’t have very much influence on the outcome of the election anyway. Even Trump is downplaying the importance of a vice presidential pick, which suggests to me that he’ll ultimately select someone competent and boring—you know, the Mike Pence type. “It’s never really had that much of an effect on an election, which is an amazing thing, both election and primary,” Trump told Baier. “It’s never really had much of an effect. … It won’t have any impact at all.”