Trump says he knows who his vice presidential selection will be

PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he knows who his vice presidential pick will be — and gave a clue about his or her likely debate night plans.

When asked by NBC News during a Philadelphia campaign stop whether he has decided on his vice presidential pick, Trump responded, “in my mind, yeah,” adding that the person will “most likely” be at Thursday’s debate against President Joe Biden.

“They’ll be there,” he continued. “I think we have a lot of people coming.”

Trump said that “nobody knows” his choice yet. NBC News has previously reported that Trump is zeroing in on Doug Burgum, JD Vance and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as possible top contenders for the slot.

Sources familiar with the selection process told NBC News that Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, and Vance, an Ohio senator, are considered the top two finalists. Rubio is still being considered, though a constitutional hiccup would require that either Trump or Rubio establish residency outside of Florida.

Trump senior adviser Brian Hughes said in a statement that the campaign’s top criterion for selecting a running mate “is a strong leader who will make a great President for eight years after his next four year term concludes.”

Trump is holding informal policy sessions with confidantes in the lead-up to the debate, including possible vice presidential contenders. Vance has held a session with Trump about the economy and inflation, and Rubio had a discussion with Trump when the former president was in D.C. earlier this month.

His Saturday comments came during a stop at a local Philadelphia restaurant ahead of a rally. Pennsylvania is expected to be a vital swing state on the road to the White House. Biden flipped Pennsylvania blue in 2020 and continues to campaign across the state as the election approaches.

The former president said that he plans to announce his vice presidential pick “right around the convention.”

“Maybe a little before, but could be at the convention,” Trump said. “But we’ll have some great people.”

The Republican National Convention, at which delegates from across the country will officially nominate the party’s nominees for president and vice president, is set to be held on  July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

Jake Traylor and Dasha Burns reported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Megan Lebowitz, Alec Hernández and Isabelle Schmeler reported from Washington, D.C..