Trump’s return to ‘The Apprentice’

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference after attending the wake of New York City police officer Jonathan Diller, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Massapequa Park, N.Y.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference after attending the wake of New York City police officer Jonathan Diller, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Massapequa Park, N.Y. | Frank Franklin II
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

An earlier version of this article was published in the On the Trail 2024 newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox on Tuesday and Friday mornings here. To submit a question to next week’s Friday Mailbag, email

Good morning, friends. I’m reporting today from Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Donald Trump is rallying this evening. More on that soon.

The Big Idea

Trump’s return to ‘The Apprentice’

For months, ring-kissing Republicans have lined up to audition for the big stage. Tim Scott endorsed Trump as soon as he terminated his presidential bid. Elise Stefanik and Vivek Ramaswamy joined Trump on the campaign trail. JD Vance and Tulsi Gabbard helped Trump rake in cash at fundraisers.

All have their eyes on the same prize: the coveted vice president position.

Politico reports that Trump’s search for a running mate is “starting to get serious,” but don’t expect him to move quickly. The former president “seems to relish the guessing game” — appraising big-money donors about his thinking, or cold-calling GOP senators for advice.

“He’s going to draw this out ‘Apprentice’-style,” one person close to the Trump campaign told Politico.

So Trump is back squarely where he is most comfortable: the omnipotent host in a reality show, toying with the idealistic hopes of each contestant.

A look at his potential picks:

Tim Scott ran a lackluster campaign for president before sidling up to Trump. The former president has praised Scott as “someone who could make a good president” — a chief consideration.

J.D. Vance, one of Scott’s U.S. Senate colleagues, is an appealing pick for his populist politics and his Rust Belt (read: swing state) connections.

Kristi Noem built a reputation on the political right during the COVID-19 pandemic, when she largely shunned restrictions and kept her state open. But recent controversies — from an alleged affair with a Trump aide to a potential dental-related ethics violation — leave question marks.

Byron Donalds is a rising star in the House GOP caucus. But a Trump-Donalds ticket — with both maintaining a primary residence in Florida — could spark issues with the 12th Amendment.

Elise Stefanik, one of Donalds’ House colleagues, has been unfailingly loyal to Trump — mentioning Trump’s name 25 times during her CPAC speech last month.

A handful of others have been rumored as potential picks. Ex-presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has a large following among young, conservative men. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is qualified and capable. Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic defector, is on quite the identity journey. Katie Britt won some name recognition after her State of the Union response (and the subsequent SNL parody). And Marco Rubio — once Trump’s sworn enemy — might be coming around, too.

What I’m reading

RFK Jr. threw an event honoring Cesar Chavez — the late labor activist and a friend of Kennedy’s father — last week. Things got awkward when Chavez’ family denounced RFK Jr. and announced their support for Biden. It should come as little surprise, though: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a granddaughter of Chavez, is Biden’s campaign manager. Cesar Chavez’s family to endorse Biden after RFK Jr. claims civil rights leader would’ve voted for him (Ed O’Keefe and Fin Gomez, CBS News)

Biden pitched himself in 2020 as a bridge-builder and unifier. This time around, voters would reasonably expect him to do the same, and start by winning over Trump-skeptical Republicans. But Biden has given the cold shoulder to just about every GOP official or ex-officeholder who’s been skeptical of Trump, from Chris Christie to George W. Bush to Mitt Romney to Mike Pence. It’s a glaring failure on his campaign’s part. Why hasn’t Biden called Chris Christie? (Jonathan Martin, Politico)

Meanwhile, Biden is pitching Haley voters, launching a new ad this week encouraging them to back the president. “If you voted for Nikki Haley, Donald Trump doesn’t want your vote,” the ad says. “Save America. Join us.” Biden campaign launches ad targeting Haley voters (Tyler Pager and Dylan Wells, The Washington Post)

See you on the trail.

Editor’s Note: The Deseret News is committed to covering issues of substance in the 2024 presidential race from its unique perspective and editorial values. Our team of political reporters will bring you in-depth coverage of the most relevant news and information to help you make an informed decision. Find our complete coverage of the election here.