Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has begun formally vetting prospective vice presidential picks.
The New York billionaire is considering former house speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, among what he previously described as a short list of possible running mates.
Their inclusion was confirmed by people with direct knowledge of the vetting process.
Mr Trump begins the vetting process with less than three weeks before the start of the Republican National Convention, when he said he would publicly unveil his pick.
Mr Gingrich and Mr Christie emerged as prominent allies of Mr Trump in recent months, even as the presumptive nominee faced deep and sustained scepticism from many Republican leaders.
Mr Trump’s relationship with other would-be running mates was badly strained in the bruising Republican primary season, leaving him with a small pool of willing and qualified candidates.
Mr Trump earlier this week acknowledged Mr Christie was under consideration.
“I’m certainly looking at him and I always will. Whether it’s for that or something else,”he told conservative radio host Howie Carr. He later described Indiana governor Mike Pence as “somebody we respect a lot”.
Mr Pence told Indiana reporters he has not spoken with Mr Trump in several weeks and referred questions to the Trump campaign, which declined to comment further on the vice presidential search.
While formal vetting did not begin until this week, Mr Trump said last month he had narrowed his vice presidential list to “a very good list of five or six people.”
His vice presidential pick could be crucial to easing the concerns of Republicans who worry about his lack of political experience, as well as his temperament to be commander in chief.
Tapping a political insider would also be a way for Mr Trump to signal a willingness to work with the party establishment he has thoroughly bashed even after emerging as the presumptive nominee.
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