The One Thing Trump Knows He Wants in a Running Mate

Donald Trump has yet to choose a running mate for his third attempt to win the White House. But he does seem to have at least one litmus test for anyone who hopes to play the part of Mike Pence in a second Trump administration: You cannot say that you’ll accept the results of the 2024 election.

Trump has not laid this out explicitly, although he has already said that he will not commit to honoring the outcome in November. “If everything’s honest, I’ll gladly accept the results. I don’t change on that,” the former president said in a recent interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “If it’s not, you have to fight for the right of the country.” We know, from the 2020 election, that anything short of a Trump victory is, for Trump, tantamount to fraud. He has also said that he would not rule out the possibility of political violence. “It always depends on the fairness of an election,” he told Time magazine in another recent interview.

There is no need for Trump to say anything else; all the Republicans vying to stand by his side understand that they’ll lose their shot if they accept the basic democratic norm that a loss cannot be overturned after the fact. When asked multiple times if he would accept the results of the 2024 election, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina — one of the leading contenders in the race to be Trump’s running mate — would only repeat a single, rehearsed statement. “At the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump.”

(Watching Scott’s performance, one half-expects him to also tell his interlocutor, “Donald Trump is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”)

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota avoided a similar question, telling CNN that there were a “huge number of irregularities” in the 2020 election and stating that he was “looking forward to next January when Vice President Harris certifies the election for Donald Trump.”

Other vice-presidential contenders have not yet had the opportunity to show Trump their loyalty to his election denialism. One assumes that if they are given the chance, they will.

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