8 Possible Trump VP Candidates Who Haven’t Shot Their Dogs

Kristi Noem thought the political world would be impressed by her story of executing a dog, but she seems to have misjudged her fellow Republicans — including, most critically, Donald Trump.

In the span of a few days, the South Dakota governor reportedly tanked her shot at becoming Trump’s running mate when a section of her forthcoming memoir, obtained by the Guardian, described her decision to lead a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket to a gravel pit and shoot her dead. The pup was overly aggressive and bad at hunting, Noem wrote. RIP Cricket!

But if Noem’s out, there are still plenty of people on Trump’s VP shortlist who haven’t killed dogs — that we know of!

J.D. Vance

The first-term Ohio senator is reportedly near the top of Trump’s VP list.

And unlike Noem, Vance has already had to confront what seemed like his most damaging electoral baggage in his 2022 race: He’s previously bashed Trump, calling him “noxious,” an “idiot” and “reprehensible.”

Now Trump and Vance are thick as thieves, although Vance claims that he and Trump haven’t discussed the possibility of running together.

“I talk to President Trump a lot. We’re very close. I’ve never spoken to him about being vice president. So, I assume that a lot of this is media speculation,” Vance said recently on Fox News.

Marco Rubio

It’s unclear how serious Trump is about choosing the Florida senator, since the 12th Amendment prohibits Florida’s 30 Electoral College members from voting for a president and vice president who both live in Florida, and that’s where Trump now resides. To run with Trump, Rubio would theoretically have to move and give up his Senate seat.

Rubio, who ran against Trump for president in 2016, offered a testy response to the speculation this week.

“I’m glad to learn that from the media. I’ll let you guys pick where I’m gonna move, how’s that?” he told reporters at the Capitol. “No one’s offered any jobs, so why would I answer a question that I’ve never been presented?”

Rubio also has a cute good boy named Winston who seems to be alive and well, at least as of a few years ago.

Tim Scott

The South Carolina senator would make history as the first Black Republican VP, and could signal Trump is making a play to win over Black voters disappointed in President Joe Biden.

Scott began the 2024 election cycle as an opponent of Trump’s for the GOP nomination, before dropping out and becoming his surrogate on the campaign trail. He played a major role campaigning for Trump against former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in South Carolina in February.

Scott, who doesn’t answer questions from reporters at the Capitol, hasn’t addressed the speculation.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has openly pined for the chance to be part of a second Trump administration, speculating to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August: “Am I going to be a part of President Trump’s Cabinet if he wins? Is it possible that I’ll be VP?”

Greene on Wednesday described herself as “the biggest supporter of President Trump” in Congress. But in recent weeks she and Trump have differed on her quest to overthrow House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), about whom Trump still speaks highly.

Trump refused to fan the flames of the dispute while Johnson was with him in Florida last month: “We’re getting along very well with the speaker, and I get along very well with Marjorie.”

Kari Lake

Kari Lake, an election-denying conspiracy theorist running for a must-win Senate seat in Arizona, has reportedly been getting on Trump’s nerves by spending too much time trying to flatter the former president at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

You might say both Lake and Greene are in Trump’s doghouse right now.

Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is another of Trump’s fiercest defenders in the House of Representatives. She’s called Jan. 6 rioters “hostages” and even scrubbed her past criticism of Trump’s mob from her House website.

Stefanik’s vice presidential stock went up when she confronted university presidents about antisemitism on campus, causing them to embarrass themselves by refusing to say if “calling for the genocide of Jews,” as she put it, would count as bullying or harassment.

Stefanik said in January that she “would be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.”

Doug Burgum

The Trump team reportedly likes North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum because he didn’t say mean things about Trump when he was competing in the Republican primary this year, was quick to endorse Trump after dropping his bid, and perhaps also because he hasn’t shot any dogs (again, that we know of!).

Burgum, like Trump, is a fellow rich guy, wealthy enough to have self-funded his own presidential campaign (which nonetheless didn’t last through the first nominating contest in Iowa).

Mitt Romney, If He Didn’t Hate Trump So Much

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is not on Trump’s VP list — they hate each other — but his dog story shows why dogs matter in politics.

Romney admitted he once put his Irish setter in a crate strapped to the roof of the family car for a road trip in 1983. The family told the story as an example of Romney’s problem-solving abilities, but the incident dogged him when he ran for president in 2012. He told HuffPost this week it was nothing compared to what Noem did.

“I didn’t eat my dog. I didn’t shoot my dog. I loved my dog, and my dog loved me,” Romney said.

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