Trump’s VP hopefuls make high-profile TV appearances as they audition to join his ticket following weekend fundraiser

After spending time with their potential future boss at his Florida home over the weekend, many of Donald Trump’s vice presidential hopefuls hit the Sunday show circuit, repeating the former president’s doubts about election results and bashing President Joe Biden for his handling of campus protests.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem remained on defense after blowback from an anecdote about killing a 14-month-old dog and goat on her farm. As CNN reported Friday, sources said Noem was off the shortlist long before the excerpts dropped and won’t be under consideration anytime soon.

Following a joint Trump-Republican National Committee fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, where the presumptive GOP nominee brought several of the potential candidates on stage, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio all made high-profile TV appearances on Sunday as speculation swirls over who Trump will select.

Campus unrest

Stefanik, who has spearheaded Republican efforts to attack college and university presidents over claims of antisemitism, used her Sunday appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” to try to draw a connection between unrest on campuses and Biden and the Democratic Party.

“This is Joe Biden’s Democrat Party today,” the New York Republican said, alluding to scenes of chaos on campuses nationwide. “And the reality is this is why Republicans continue to poll stronger and stronger, because we represent peace and security. We represent standing up for the Constitution. We represent supporting our ally of Israel and we strongly condemn antisemitism.”

Rubio, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” called Biden “weak” and “feeble,” adding that international students should have their visas revoked if they are found “defacing statues” and “ripping down American flags and putting up Palestinian flags.”

Scott claimed Biden took too long to condemn antisemitism and is “pandering” to his base.

“The reason in part is because his base refuses to let them do so. He’s pandering to politics, as opposed to standing up for fairness and standing against antisemitism,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Until last Thursday, when he made his most substantive comments on the protests in remarks from the White House, Biden had said little about the unrest. He had told reporters at an Earth Day event on April 22 that he condemned antisemitism and also “those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

Doubts about election results

As Trump continues to focus on his false claims over election integrity, many of his potential deputies expressed their own concerns.

Scott refused to say whether he will accept the results of the 2024 election regardless of the winner, asserting that “at the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump.”

“President Trump himself said he expects this election to be fair, he expects it to be honest, and he expects to win. That’s what the presidential candidate should expect. … And, frankly, the American people agree with him. This is an issue that is not an issue,” Scott said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Trump told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week that he will only accept the election’s results “if everything’s honest.”

Asked several times by NBC’s Kristen Welker, Scott said, “I look forward to President Trump being the 47th president. Kristen, you could ask it multiple times, but I just answered the question at the end of the day.”

Burgum, meanwhile, said he believes Biden won the 2020 election, but he falsely claimed that there were a “huge number of irregularities” due to changed voting rules during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no evidence of widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election.

Goodbye, Sunshine State?

Rubio, who represents the same state where Trump now lives, was pressed on whether he’d be open to changing his residency in order to serve as vice president.

The 12th Amendment requires electors to vote for at least one candidate from a different state than theirs, meaning either Trump or Rubio would need to change their state residency in order to collect electoral votes from Florida if Trump were to tap Rubio for the role.

Instead of addressing the question, Rubio used it to pivot to the subject of Trump’s legal battles, attacking those who have brought charges against the former president.

“Before anyone decides to move from their state, you better make sure you move to a state where there’s not some DA that makes a career after going after Republicans, because what we’re seeing all over the country right now is the weaponization of our criminal justice after Donald Trump, which is now well-documented,” Rubio said.

Rubio also tried Sunday to tamp down on speculation that he would be Trump’s vice president.

“The vice presidential choice for Donald Trump’s gonna be made by one person and that’s Donald Trump, and all this other stuff is just speculation. And I get it. You know, political reporters have to cover political topics and primaries over the general six months away. So, they want to speculate on the VP thing,” Rubio told Fox News Sunday.

Praising his party and those gathered at the RNC spring retreat with Trump over the weekend, Rubio said, “The amount of talent that we have in the Republican Party is extraordinary. He doesn’t just have a bunch of choices for VP. He has a bunch of choices for cabinet. He’s going to have an extraordinary group of talented people that can serve this country in multiple roles.”

South Dakota governor plays defense

Noem continued to defend herself after excerpts of her book “No Going Back” detailed her killing a goat and a 14-month-old dog on her farm, and offered a glimpse at why she might have included the anecdote in the book in the first place during her Sunday appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“This has been a story that my political opponents have tried to use against me for years. It’s well known in South Dakota and it has been to other people and I want the truth to be out there,” Noem said.

In her book, Noem appears to suggest that President Joe Biden’s dog Commander should suffer a similar fate to Cricket, the working dog she shot.

“What would I do if I was president on the first day in office in 2025? Thanks for asking. I happen to have a list. The first thing I’d do is make sure Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds (‘Commander, say hello to Cricket for me’),” Noem writes.

Commander, the Biden family’s German shepherd, bit Secret Service personnel in 24 separate incidents at the White House and other locations, according to CNN’s reporting from February.

The dog was removed from the White House last October.

“Joe Biden’s dog has attacked 24 Secret Service people,” Noem said on “Face the Nation.” “So, how many people is enough people to be attacked and dangerously hurt before you make a decision on a dog and what to do with it?

CNN reported Friday that, while at Noem was at one point considered a top contender for Trump’s vice presidential pick, his advisers have said for weeks that is no longer the case.

Noem also on Sunday addressed an error in her book, in which she claimed to have met Kim Jong Un.

“I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor, after all),” Noem wrote, according to an excerpt displayed on “Face the Nation.”

Asked specifically whether she had met with Kim, Noem told CBS, “As soon as this was brought to my attention, I certainly made some changes.”

“I’ve met with many, many world leaders. I’ve traveled around the world,” the governor continued, adding that the updated version of the book hits shelves on Tuesday.

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