Bill Hagerty latest to be floated in Trump veepstakes, underscoring fluidity


(WASHINGTON) — Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty is the latest person to be mentioned in Donald Trump’s orbit as the former president and presumptive GOP presidential nominee decides who to pick as his running mate.

Three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News that Hagerty is among the names being floated recently in Trumpworld, including by the former president, during discussions about the veepstakes. A fourth source familiar with the matter told ABC News that Hagerty’s team is promoting the senator as a possible addition to Republicans’ 2024 ticket as an alternative to the other candidates in the mix.

Hagerty was one of several Trump surrogates who attended the former president’s fundraiser in San Francisco Thursday night. Two sources also confirmed that Hagerty attended an Alabama fundraiser Wednesday night for Trump that was hosted by Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s eldest son.

The fourth source said they believe Hagerty would take the job if offered — but that the senator hasn’t received or been asked for vetting materials.

That would put Hagerty behind other vice presidential hopefuls. ABC News reported Wednesday that Trump’s campaign has formally requested information from a small handful of potential running mates, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Sens. Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance.

Trump campaign officials have also requested information from Sen. Tim Scott, Reps. Byron Donalds and Elise Stefanik and Ben Carson, though it’s unclear how extensive the requests were.

Trump also did not mention Hagerty during an interview on Newsmax on Tuesday in which he complimented Burgum, Rubio, Scott and Vance.

Perhaps more than anything, the mentions of Hagerty’s name underscore the fluidity of Trump’s veepstakes, even as his campaign presses forward to obtain information from other potential picks.

“Anyone claiming to know who or when President Trump will choose his VP is lying, unless the person is named Donald J. Trump,” said Brian Hughes, a senior adviser for the Trump campaign.

Trump has said he plans on announcing his pick closer to the Republican National Convention, which is in mid-July.

Asked about his potential running mate by Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump repeated that he’s going to announce his choice “during the convention.”

“In all fairness, we have some people that have done a fantastic job in communicating the ills and the assets and the advantages and the disadvantages of what we’re doing as a country and where we are as a country,” Trump told Hannity in clips that aired Thursday night.

Like other potential Trump running mates, Hagerty has maintained a presence on cable news, appearing on channels such as Fox News to defend the former president and excoriate Democrats’ record.

“Clearly, Donald Trump’s policies led to a far more robust American economy, and the American worker was far better off,” Hagerty claimed during an appearance earlier this month on Fox Business.

Other candidates have also appeared at fundraisers for the former president, including some they’ve organized themselves.

Hagerty also has a tie with Trump, having served in his administration as ambassador to Japan.

Hagerty is a white male from a reliably red state, so it’s not clear exactly what constituency he’d bring along for Trump. Hagerty he did not appear in New York to join Trump in court during his criminal trial, a prominent destination for Trump’s allies and would-be running mates prior to his conviction.

Several potential running mates, including Burgum, Donalds and Vance, traveled to the Manhattan court room where Trump was tried and ultimately convicted of felonies regarding hush-money payments to cover up an alleged affair during the 2016 race, payments that prosecutors said amounted to campaign finance violations.

Several other allies, including Speaker Mike Johnson convened outside the court, setting the building as a high-profile stage for Republicans to underscore their support and bash witnesses and local prosecutors, some of whom Trump was barred from going after due to a gag order.

“The president is expected to sit here for six weeks to listen to the Michael Cohens of the world,” Vance wrote on X the day he attended the trial. “I’m now convinced the main goal of this trial is psychological torture. But Trump is in great spirits.”

“The American people have already acquitted Donald Trump,” Burgum added during his own trip to New York. “The sooner that this scam trial can be concluded, the sooner the president can get back to getting out and campaigning and talking to the American people about the issues that matter.”

Hagerty has still be a vocal defender from afar, however, saying on Fox Business earlier this month that the trial was a “mockery of the American justice system.”

ABC News’ Soorin Kim, Lalee Ibssa and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

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