Trump says he's already picked his VP and 'can't tell you,' but his campaign backtracks

The issue hasn't been discussed in "any great detail," an adviser said.

January 11, 2024, 3:09 PM

Former President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he's decided who his vice presidential pick will be if he wins the 2024 Republican nomination -- but his campaign quickly downplayed that claim, saying the issue hasn't been discussed in "any great detail."

"I know who it's going to be," Trump told Fox News' Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum during the network's town hall on Wednesday, which he attended instead of the latest GOP primary debate.

Pressed on who that running mate is, Trump retorted, "I can't tell you that really."

Those comments seemingly caught his top aides off guard.

"All I know is what I heard tonight, and I'm not gonna categorize it any other way than that," senior campaign adviser Chris LaCivita told reporters following the town hall.

Pressed on what types of conversations have happened around a potential vice presidential candidate pick, LaCivita said the talks have been minimal.

"I'm sure that when the time to discuss a VP ... comes, everybody will know," he added.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump participates in a Fox News Town Hall, on Jan. 10, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Multiple names are being floated for who could potentially be Trump's running mate, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a former primary contender who has said he's not interested in being vice president.

Those politicians have all spent time on the campaign trail touting Trump's policies and repeatedly affirming their support for the former president. (Former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump's previous running mate, broke with him in the wake of Jan. 6.)

Trump on Wednesday also spoke approvingly -- if, perhaps, jokingly -- about someone who until recently was running against him in the primary.

"I've already started to like [Chris] Christie better," Trump said to laughs about mending relationships with his Republican challengers ahead of the general election.

However, Trump quickly threw cold water on the possibility of tapping the former New Jersey governor to be his vice president.

"I don't see it. That would be an upset," he said.

In this Sept. 7, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump appears with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Susan Walsh/AP, FILE

Others have suggested a ticket with Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would be a strong duo to defeat President Joe Biden; however, Trump allies have firmly opposed that idea in light of Haley's challenge to Trump in the primary.

Noem recently said during an appearance on Newsmax that it would be a "mistake" for the former president to pick Haley as his running mate.

Donald Trump Jr., the former president's eldest son, has said he would go to "great lengths" to assure Haley doesn't join the Trump ticket.

Even Haley herself has publicly remained focused on defeating Trump, playing down the possibility of a No. 2 role without, as opponent Ron DeSantis has often noted, definitively ruling it out.

"First of all, I don't play for second -- I never have," Haley told a voter last week, "and I'm not going to start now."