Trump ramps up VP search, sending vetting materials to contenders

The Trump campaign has sent vetting materials to a handful of potential running mates, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill, a sign that the former president’s search for a vice president is ramping up.

The source said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and JD Vance (R-Ohio) received vetting requests. All four are considered front-runners to join Trump on the GOP ticket in November.

“Anyone claiming to know who or when President Trump will choose his VP is lying, unless the person is named Donald J. Trump,” Brian Hughes, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said in a statement.

NBC News first reported on the campaign sending vetting materials.

ABC News reported the campaign has also requested information from Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Ben Carson, but it was unclear how extensive those asks were.

The former president has for months teased out his selection of a running mate for November’s election, hinting at who was on his short list of contenders and signaling he may wait until the Republican National Convention in mid-July to make an announcement.

But Burgum, Vance, Rubio and Scott have each emerged in recent weeks as the likeliest choices. All four appeared on television in the days after Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York to defend the former president.

In a phone interview with Newsmax on Tuesday, Trump offered praise for each of them when asked about when he might make a decision.

“I thought Tim Scott didn’t run as good of a race as he’s capable of running for himself, but as a surrogate for me, he’s unbelievable. He’s been incredible,” Trump said.

“Gov. Burgum from North Dakota has been incredible. Marco Rubio has been great,” he added. “JD Vance has been great. We’ve had so many great people out there.”

Updated at 6:14 p.m. EDT

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