Home US The Republican mercilessly mocked by Trump emerges as a donor’s favorite in the race to be running mate… but the Donald’s MAGA base prefers another Florida man

The Republican mercilessly mocked by Trump emerges as a donor’s favorite in the race to be running mate… but the Donald’s MAGA base prefers another Florida man

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Former President Donald Trump speaks Saturday at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Trump is looking for a vice presidential candidate to replace former Vice President Mike Pence, and his donors and his most ardent supporters have different ideas about who it should be.

Former President Donald Trump ridiculed him and nicknamed him “Little One” when they were rivals in 2016, but this cycle he is proving to be a big hit with donors who want to see him elected vice president.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was “harassed” by donors at an event last week at Mar-a-Lago. the Financial Times reported on Fridayand a Republican Party strategist said the lawmaker “was the one who received the most attention.”

The theory among the donor class is that Trump needs to pick a running mate to broaden his appeal, and Rubio could do so as a more traditional Republican and Latino.

That goes against the wishes of Trump’s most ardent supporters, those who fought through the crowds to show up at Saturday’s rally in Wildwood, New Jersey.

There, his supporters told DailyMail.com they would prefer to see a different man from Florida as Trump’s running mate, his former 2024 rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Former President Donald Trump speaks Saturday at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Trump is looking for a vice presidential candidate to replace former Vice President Mike Pence, and his donors and his most ardent supporters have different ideas about who it should be.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, seen on stage with Trump during a 2016 primary debate, has attracted the attention of Trump donors who believe he needs to diversify his candidacy outside of the MAGA base. Rubio is a more traditional Republican and Latino

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, seen on stage with Trump during a 2016 primary debate, has attracted the attention of Trump donors who believe he needs to diversify his candidacy outside of the MAGA base. Rubio is a more traditional Republican and Latino

“I like DeSantis,” said Linda Donnelly, 80, who traveled to the rally from Long Island. ‘Because he is very similar to Trump but with a little – I don’t want to use the word class – what would be another word? He is Trump but with a little better vocabulary.”

Donnelly shrugged at the thought of Rubio.

“I like Marco Rubio, but I still don’t think I have it,” he said, expressing that he was missing the “it” factor.

Jacki Ortiz, a 53-year-old woman from South Jersey who was nearby, volunteered “no Rubio” before the question was even asked.

He preferred Ohio Sen. JD Vance or businessman and former 2024 presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy.

When asked about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who accompanied Trump at Saturday’s rally adding to speculation about the vice president, Ortiz told DailyMail.com: “He’s not as bad as Rubio, but I like them better.” the other two”.

He also joked that he thought South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s goal of being Trump’s running mate had failed.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump who braved the crowd to attend Saturday's rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, liked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis more than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a potential vice presidential candidate.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump who braved the crowd to attend Saturday’s rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, liked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis more than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a potential vice presidential candidate.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the top pick for vice president among several of former President Donald Trump's supporters at Saturday's large rally at the Jersey Shore. DeSantis Was Considered More 'America First' Than Vice Presidential Candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the top pick for vice president among several of former President Donald Trump’s supporters at Saturday’s large rally at the Jersey Shore. DeSantis Was Considered More ‘America First’ Than Vice Presidential Candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio

“No, I really like my dog,” Ortiz said.

Nancy Martin, a 62-year-old cosmetologist who traveled to the rally from Baltimore, Maryland, also endorsed DeSantis as Rubio’s vice president.

“My first choice is DeSantis,” he said. “Because I love him,” she laughed.

“Because he’s a great governor, I think he’s fantastic and he’s America First.”

He said his second choice is Dr. Ben Carson because of his strong ties to Baltimore.

As for Rubio, it’s a ‘no’.

“I didn’t like him in the first election and he really wasn’t: America first always, you don’t back down, you stay on the Trump train, you don’t back down, that’s it, that’s how I feel.” said Martin.

Martin also expressed that he thought it was “kind of strange” that DeSantis was running against Trump this time.

“It wasn’t his turn yet,” he said. “It wasn’t her time.”

DeSantis’ well-funded 2024 campaign lost steam in late January, before the New Hampshire primary, after he came in a distant second in Iowa after spending months on the ground there.

Florida’s governor said in a call in February that he wouldn’t want to be Trump’s vice president.

DeSantis struggled, in part, because he didn’t want to hit Trump too hard and therefore it was difficult to differentiate the Florida governor from the former president during the race.

He also appeared uncomfortable on the stump and was plagued by reports that he secretly wore high heels.

During his own 2016 race, Rubio had that in common with DeSantis: He was accused of using elevators.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump listen to the national anthem before Saturday's rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Trump is about to pick a running mate, and his supporters say they like Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. JD Vance, Vivek Ramaswamy and others.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump listen to the national anthem before Saturday’s rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Trump is about to pick a running mate, and his supporters say they like Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. JD Vance, Vivek Ramaswamy and others.

But Rubio briefly took some pretty big shots at Trump along the way.

After falling behind Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Florida senator had a week-long streak in February 2016.

—And you know what they say about men with small hands? Rubio said at a campaign stop.

He paused and his followers wondered if he was drawing attention to the size of Trump’s you-know-what.

“You can’t trust them, you can’t trust them,” Rubio said then.

Additionally, Rubio mocked Trump’s “orange” appearance, saying he had a “sweat mustache” during one of the GOP primary debates, while also mocking the real estate mogul for having “wet” pants.

He later said in a May 2016 interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that he called Trump to apologize for things he said when they were rivals.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News last Sunday and was asked if he would move from Florida to meet the 12th Amendment requirement to be Trump's vice president. He didn't answer the question directly.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News last Sunday and was asked if he would move from Florida to meet the 12th Amendment requirement to be Trump’s vice president. He didn’t answer the question directly.

“I didn’t say it on camera,” the Florida senator said. “I didn’t want any political benefits.”

During Trump’s four years in office, Rubio was an ally on many fronts and appears to be interested in the vice presidential job.

Although for both Rubio and DeSantis there is a constitutional problem (the 12th Amendment prevents electors from choosing a president and a vice president from the same state), so one of the men from Florida would have to move.

When asked on Fox News last Sunday whether he would become vice president, Rubio did not directly answer the question.

“First of all, the vice presidential election with Donald Trump will be made by one person, and that’s Donald Trump, and everything else is just speculation. I get it, you know political reporters have to cover political issues. The primaries are already over, There are six months left until the general elections, so then we are going to speculate about the VP thing,” he said.

“You’re going to have a group of extremely talented people who can serve this country in multiple capacities, and that’s a decision you’re going to have to make,” the Florida senator added.

Vice-presidential elections are usually announced directly before the party’s political convention, and this year’s Republican National Convention is scheduled for mid-July.

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