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VP contender Doug Burgum joins Trump at campaign rally in New Jersey

VP contender Doug Burgum joins Trump at campaign rally in New Jersey

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum spoke before a large crowd of Donald Trump supporters Saturday in the latest sign that the competition to be the former president’s running mate is heating up among vice presidential hopefuls.

Burgum, who was among Trump’s opponents in the Republican primary before dropping out, praised the presumptive nominee and bashed President Joe Biden in brief remarks at the New Jersey rally.

“Working with President Trump as a governor was like having a beautiful breeze at your back,” Burgum said, adding that working under the “Biden regulatory regime is like having a gale force wind in your face because the Biden bureaucrats are treating our constitutional republic like a dictatorship.”

Trump in turn praised Burgum, calling the governor “incredible” and telling people to “get ready for something.”

“He made his money in technology, but he probably knows more about energy than anybody I know,” Trump said. “So get ready for something. OK, just get ready.”

Trump has indicated he’s unlikely to announce his VP pick before the Republican National Convention in July.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump posted to Truth Social that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served in his administration before launching a White House bid of her own, “is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!”

Several other vice presidential contenders have spoken at or attended Trump’s rallies during the 2024 campaign, including Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.; and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Burgum’s remarks came as other contenders have promoted Trump in interviews and speeches, with some hedging as to whether they would accept the results of the 2024 election.

In a May 5 interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Scott dodged multiple questions about whether he would accept the November outcome. In January, Stefanik did not commit to saying she would certify the 2024 results as a member of Congress. “We will see if this is a legal and valid election,” she said on “Meet the Press.”

Burgum has previously sidestepped questions about whether Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election.

During a fundraiser in Washington state on Saturday, Biden said politicians “auditioning” to be Trump’s running mate have to pass a litmus test that they will not accept the results of the 2020 and 2024 elections.

“This is not some dictator state,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “What’s going on?”

Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer said in a statement Saturday that Republicans “vying to be Donald Trump’s MAGA running mate must swear allegiance to his election lies, extreme agenda, and put his revenge and retribution over the American people’s best interests.”

Trump’s rally was held in Wildwood, New Jersey, though there’s no indication that the state is in play. In 2020, Biden garnered 57.1% of the state’s vote to Trump’s 41.3%. Trump, who grew up in New York, lost the neighboring state by a similar margin in 2016 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

During remarks that lasted nearly 90 minutes, Trump said his campaign is “going to officially play in the state of New Jersey.”

His most recent large campaign events were held in Michigan and Wisconsin, both key swing states that Trump won in 2016 before Biden flipped them four years later.

The New Jersey rally comes between two pivotal weeks of witness testimony in Trump’s hush money trial in Manhattan, where he faces charges related to falsifying business records that prosecutors say were used to try to cover up payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Daniels testified this week, and former Trump lawyer-turned-critic Michael Cohen is expected to take the stand on Monday as a star witness for the prosecution. It’s unclear if Trump will take the stand in his own defense.

Megan Lebowitz

Megan Lebowitz is a politics reporter for NBC News.

Jake Traylor

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Isabelle Schmeler

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