House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik is slated to campaign with Donald Trump in New Hampshire later this week, a Trump campaign adviser told CNN, in an appearance that will be viewed by some in the GOP as an audition to become Trump’s running mate.
The New York Republican is just one of several speakers who is scheduled to appear on stage ahead of Trump during his event in Concord on Friday, and numerous Trump surrogates – including members of Congress – were stumping for Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire this week. But Stefanik’s presence in New Hampshire is particularly notable, as some Republican lawmakers and strategists believe she has been jockeying to become Trump’s pick for vice president after a series of moves that appear designed to please the former president.
Stefanik was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, throwing her weight behind the former president before he even officially announced his plans and lobbying her colleagues to follow suit. More recently, Stefanik has embraced Trump’s rhetoric about January 6 defendants, calling them “hostages” one day after the third anniversary of the Capitol attack. Stefanik has also filed multiple ethics complaints about the judges overseeing Trump’s legal cases. And after Trump’s landslide victory in Iowa, Stefanik called on all other candidates to drop out of the race.
Trump, for his part, counts Stefanik as one of his most loyal allies on Capitol Hill and has previously mused that she would make a good running mate, as CNN previously reported. Trump has also said he likes the idea of choosing a woman for the job.
Trump’s advisers, however, insist that there have been no official conversations around vice president. “He doesn’t want to get ahead of it. He’s superstitious,” one adviser said.
When asked recently if she’d be willing to serve as Trump’s running mate, Stefanik didn’t rule it out. “I would be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Stefanik’s appearance on the campaign trail with Trump also comes on the heels of her grilling university presidents at a recent anti-Semitism hearing; two of the three presidents have since stepped down. Stefanik’s viral moment also helped contributed to a massive windfall in campaign donations, with Stefanik raising $5.2 million in the final quarter of last year – a new record for Stefanik, according to her political team.
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