Former President Donald Trump is continuing to lead the increasingly crowded 2024 Republican presidential field, and he paid a big compliment to one of his challengers on Sunday, even suggesting there could be a spot for him in his next administration.

During an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, Trump sang Sen. Tim Scott’s praises, while also offering some encouraging words for some of the other candidates as well during a “Sunday Morning Futures” segment. He said many of his challengers were “talented” people and dropped a hint that he was already thinking about a running mate.

“Is there anyone on that stage you see as a potential running mate, as your VP?” Bartiromo wondered.

“Possibly. I mean, I think you have some good people on the stage. Actually, I think you have some very talented people. I’ve been impressed by some of them. Some of them I’m very friendly with,” Trump said.

“Actually, a number of them called me up not to ask for permission, but sort of to ask for permission, to say they’d like to do it. A number of the people up there – I’m not going to embarrass them by saying who – but no, I think you have good people. I think you have good potential Cabinet members to actually do that,” he added.

“Do you see yourself perhaps with the senator, Tim Scott?” Bartiromo pressed further.

“I think he’s a very good guy,” he said of the South Carolina senator. And we did opportunity zones together. It’s never been talked about. It’s one of the most successful economic development things ever done in this country. And Tim is very good. I mean, I could see Tim doing something with the administration, but he’s in right now campaigning…. But Tim is a talented guy, and you have other very talented people.”

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Scott’s campaign pointed to something the candidate said last week on FOX host Neil Cavuto’s program: “I did not enter this race to come in second place. Second place is the first loser.”

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At another point in the interview, Bartiromo asked Trump if he saw “any risk that if you don’t show up” at the GOP debates “or Ron DeSantis has a good night, and it cuts into your lead?”

In response, Trump threw a compliment to another of his challengers.

“Or somebody else has a good night and cuts into his lead because that’s what’s happening. He’s going down and a couple of them are going up. I think Vivek has done a very good job, frankly,” he said of business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who has vowed to pardon Trump if he is convicted by Joe Biden’s Justice Department.

“Or somebody else has a good night and cuts into his lead because that’s what’s happening. He’s going down and a couple of them are going up. I think Vivek has done a very good job, frankly,” he said.

Speaking of debates, Trump’s first running mate, former Vice President Mike Pence, may not even qualify for the first one, which is scheduled next month in Milwaukee, which Fox News will host.

“Pence’s campaign and super political action committee (PAC) raised $3.85 million in the second quarter of this year, casting doubt on his debate eligibility,” The Daily Caller reported on Saturday.

According to a Pence advisor who spoke to Politico on Friday, $1.1 million was raised through his campaign directly, while an additional $2.6 million was generated via his super PAC. Pence declared his candidacy on June 7.

Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who are currently leading the pack, gathered an impressive $35 million and $20 million, respectively.

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