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Republican ‘veepstakes’ heats up as contenders court Trump at court

Two senators, JD Vance of Ohio and Tim Scott of South Carolina, have shot to the front of the US media’s beloved “veepstakes”, the reporting, betting and outright speculation about who Donald Trump will pick as his running mate against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election in November.

But one report from Capitol Hill quoted a source as saying that Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator who ran against Trump in 2016, was still an “ace in the hole” for one adviser particularly close to Trump, “if Scott gets taken out on the runway”.

That might have been a pointed choice of words, given reports that Trump’s plane clipped another at a Florida airport last Sunday.

Vance, meanwhile, might have stolen a march on Scott by flying to New York to attend Trump’s hush-money trial on Monday.

Emerging from court in Manhattan, Vance slammed the case against Trump, which frames payments to the adult film star Stormy Daniels around the 2016 campaign as a form of election subversion, and concerns 34 of the 88 criminal charges Trump must face as he attempts to return to power.

Vance was not the first Trump-supporting Republican to show up in New York but he did grab headlines by doing so.

The next day, the House speaker, Mike Johnson, grabbed more when he and three VP hopefuls – North Dakota governor Doug Burgum, Florida congressman Byron Donalds and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy – followed Vance to the court. All four attacked prosecutors and the judge in virulent terms Trump cannot employ, given a gag order.

One reporter said Trump may have been editing surrogates’ remarks in court.

Other observers commented on Burgum, Donalds and Ramaswamy’s decision to wear blue suits and red ties, thereby following Trump’s favourite

Read more on theguardian.com