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Manafort says he doesn’t think Trump would make DeSantis his running mate

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis
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Former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) lead polls among potential 2024 GOP primary voters (AP Images)

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he doesn’t think former President Trump would make Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) his running mate in 2024.

Manafort, speaking on “The Chris Cuomo Project” in an interview published on Tuesday, said DeSantis “doesn’t give Trump what he needs,” arguing the former president should instead pick “somebody like” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“I don’t think DeSantis runs against him,” Manafort said, adding that the Florida governor could wait to run in a future election given his younger age.

Host Chris Cuomo followed up by asking if Trump would ask DeSantis to join his ticket.

“I don’t think he gets asked,” Manafort responded.

Both Trump and DeSantis are widely seen as considering bids for the White House in 2024 and have topped multiple polls of potential Republican primary contenders. 

Trump has publicly said he has already made up his mind about whether to run, but many Republicans have urged him to wait until after the midterms to avoid shifting the focus of November’s races. 

Manafort told Cuomo he “absolutely” thinks Trump will run, adding that his confidence has only grown in the past two weeks, an apparent reference to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. 

But Manafort said he won’t be heavily involved in a 2024 campaign.

“Am I willing to get back in again?” Manafort asked. “I don’t think so. I mean I’ll help whoever the Republican nominee is. But now at this stage of my life, after what I’ve just gone through, my focus is my family.”

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and later became its chairman until that August, when he resigned amid scrutiny for his work supporting pro-Russian figures in Ukraine.

As a result of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Manafort was convicted on bank fraud, tax fraud, failing to disclose a hidden foreign bank account and conspiracy. Trump pardoned Manafort in December 2020.

Speculation is swirling over which Republicans might challenge Trump in the Republican primary if he decides to make a third White House bid.

DeSantis in recent days has stumped for Trump-backed candidates in battleground states across the country, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, the latest sign of his growing national profile.

Scott, who Manafort suggested as a possible running mate for Trump, is also rumored to be mulling a presidential bid. The South Carolina senator, the only Black Republican in the upper chamber, expressed his support for a Trump 2024 campaign last year but dodged questions about whether he wanted the former president to run during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash earlier this month.

“I hope that we will find a way back to where we are talking about principles,” Scott said.

Tags 2024 2024 election 2024 presidential election 2024 Republicans Donald Trump election 2024 Paul Manafort Paul Manafort Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Tim Scott Tim Scott

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