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Second in command: Who Trump might choose as vice president and their position on Ukraine

Second in command: Who Trump might choose as vice president and their position on Ukraine Donald Trump during the debate (photo: Getty Images)

After the last presidential debate in the US, the chances of Donald Trump's victory have increased significantly. Therefore, the struggle for a vice-presidential candidate who will run with him and take over the presidency if something happens to him will intensify.

RBC-Ukraine tells who could become the Republican vice presidential candidate.


The main purpose of the Vice President in the United States is to replace the current head of state in the event of his death or incapacity. However, the Vice President is also an important figure in attracting new voters. At various times, the American press has named more than a dozen people who could become Vice President under Trump, such as Tucker Carlson, a well-known TV presenter even in Ukraine. But now the list of real contenders for the post has been significantly reduced.

James David (J.D.) Vance

The Senator from Ohio has the least experience in politics among the other candidates. He was elected to the Senate in January 2023 and has never held any elected office before.

He is 39 years old, and after graduating from high school, Vance joined the Marine Corps and fought in Iraq, as well as worked in hedge funds. He became famous for his book Hillbilly Elegy, about life in the depressed Midwest.

Vance was a harsh critic of Trump in the early years of his presidency but later became an active supporter. As a Vice President, he would probably not bring Trump much advantage in the election, as voters in his home state already vote Republican. However, Vance would be an effective emissary for Trump due to his energy and initiative.

This politician is considered almost more of a Trumpist than Trump himself. Vance is a consistent critic of US assistance to Ukraine. For example, in December 2023, before President Zelenskyy visited Washington, J.D. Vance said that Ukraine might have to cede some territory to Russia to end the war. In February of this year, he voiced the thesis that the approval of US aid would not affect the outcome of the war. President Zelenskyy even responded to his words.

Marco Rubio

Senator from Florida. A 53-year-old lawyer by training. He has worked in government at various levels for more than 25 years, including the last 13 in the Senate. He is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rubio is a native of Miami and the son of immigrants who came to the US from Cuba before the revolution in that country. So he could help Trump win over Latinos. Rubio has mostly hawkish views on national security and foreign policy.

As a candidate in the 2016 primaries, Rubio sharply criticized Trump and called him a fraud. But like Vance, he eventually became one of the former President's most ardent supporters in the US Congress.

Rubio is a long-time supporter of a tough policy toward Russia. He pushed through a law that prevents the US president from withdrawing the country from NATO without congressional approval. In February of this year, Rubio said that he was in favor of supporting Ukraine, but "congressmen have to help America first". In March, he suggested the possibility of a Korean scenario for Ukraine. He also voted against the $60bn aid package for Ukraine.

Doug Burgum

67-year-old governor of North Dakota. He has been in office since the end of 2016. Before entering politics, he was a businessman. Burgum started his career with a small software startup, which was later acquired by Microsoft, bringing him more than a billion dollars.

Burgum was a presidential candidate in this year's primaries but dropped out of the race. He had been a moderate critic of Trump, but later endorsed the former President.

Burgum's appointment as Vice President would help Trump win over moderate voters.

In general, he is a supporter of assistance to Ukraine. In June 2023, Doug Burgum said that the United States was actually at war with Russia. In his opinion, China is a bigger threat, but if Russia defeats Ukraine, it will mean China's strengthening. Burgum also advocates for closer control of funds allocated to Ukraine.

Elise Stefanik

Since 2015, Stefanik has represented her New York district in the House of Representatives and is the chair of the Republican Conference (a similar faction - ed.) in the US House of Representatives.

She came to Trump's attention by aggressively defending him during the House's first impeachment proceedings against him.

As a woman, Stefanik could help Trump attract female voters. But as with Vance, her choice is unlikely to affect Trump's support in the state. New York traditionally votes Democratic.

At the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Stefanik called Putin a war criminal and a crazy thug. She also called for supporting democracy under attack. In November 2023, Stefanik criticized the Biden administration for allegedly lacking accountability in spending money on Ukraine and for not having an end goal in US policy.

At the same time, she opposed the USD 60 billion aid package for Ukraine. Stefanik did not explain why she voted against it. Lately, she has been focusing more on fighting the leaders of American universities that have seen massive pro-Palestinian protests.

Tim Scott

58-year-old Senator from South Carolina, in politics since 1995. Tim Scott has been a senator since 2013. Before that, he spent one term in the House of Representatives.

As an African-American, he could help win the favor of black voters, among whom Trump has historically been unpopular (although this is changing). However, Scott's election as vice-presidential candidate would be of little use to Trump in South Carolina, which is overwhelmingly Republican.

The politician has repeatedly called for a reduction in aid to Ukraine. One of his key theses is that the US should understand where the funds that Ukraine received earlier were spent. However, in April this year, Scott voted for a USD 60bn aid package.

Earlier, we wrote why Democrats are thinking about replacing Joe Biden with another candidate in the presidential election.

Also, read about the details of the case in which Donald Trump was found guilty and what punishment he may face.

Sources: Axios, Politico, Voice of America, and public statements by American politicians.