In Choosing a V.P., Trump Is Elevating the Next Generation of Republicans

Donald J. Trump has never shown much interest in grooming successors.

When he left as host of “The Apprentice,” he mocked the ratings of his replacement. No alumni network exists for former Trump White House staff members in the way there does for the two presidents who preceded him. He signaled his approval when supporters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, a former aide testified to Congress.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to naming a running mate: With an increasingly theatrical selection process focused on a wide field of candidates — akin to reality TV — the former president has fostered a new crop of rising stars inside his party.

The group under consideration already constitutes some of the most coveted pro-Trump Republicans for cable news interviews. And their access to some of the party’s biggest donors has widened thanks to their newly burnished Trump bona fides. Whoever is not chosen as the Republican vice-presidential nominee undoubtedly will be among the first names discussed for the top of the ticket in 2028.

Representatives Byron Donalds of Florida, 45, and Elise Stefanik of New York, 40, along with Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, 39, are widely viewed as some of the party’s most promising young stars. Senator Marco Rubio’s conservative credentials have been polished by Mr. Trump’s consideration of the Florida senator as a top contender. Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota has emerged from political obscurity to become one of the former president’s staunchest defenders on television.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has gotten more exposure from being mentioned as a possible running mate than he did during his own presidential bid this year. Vivek Ramaswamy, an Ohio businessman, would most likely have faded into the background after ending his own White House bid, but he has been kept in the mix at campaign events and fund-raisers at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Trump has been enormously helpful to these people,” said Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker who Mr. Trump considered as a running mate in 2016. “They are all bigger and better known than they would have been without Donald Trump.”

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