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The speculation as to whom Donald Trump will pick as vice president points to a resurgence of the neocons in Trump-world. In the 2016 and 2020 election campaigns, he denounced the neocons and Bush Republicans for their commitment to endless wars. Until recently, he has made the same point, saying that no new wars were started during his presidency, and he would keep the U.S. out of wars if he returns to the White House.

However, the exception to this has been his defense of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza. After not openly announcing his position during the first months of fighting, his evasive “get it done,” i.e., obliterate Hamas, has become a more explicit support for Israel’s genocidal attacks on Palestinians. This shift was manifest in his unwillingness to fight against the Biden supplemental war package, when he gave his approval to Speaker Johnson’s plan to break it into smaller packages, and vote for all four—including more than $60 billion for Ukraine and $25 billion for Israel.

Republicans used the nod to Johnson to pass the funding to Ukraine and Israel. Among those claiming to be speaking for Trump in supporting the bills were Senators Rubio (FL) and Cotton (AR). Both have been hard-core neocons, with Rubio focused on China. In the last days, Rubio and Cotton have been placed at the top of the list of potential choices to run for VP with Trump.

A third name is Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New Yorker who replaced Liz Cheney as Chair of the House Republican Conference in 2021 when Cheney was ousted from that position for supporting the impeachment of Trump over the January 6 “insurrection.” Stefanik, who is 40, worked in the George W. Bush White House, and was initially not a supporter of Trump. By 2018, she had become a hard-line Trumper, and a staunch Zionist. Her pro-MIC posture on the House Armed Services Committee was praised by super-war hawk John Bolton.

Her recent pro-Israel hyperactivity is seen as auditioning to be Trump’s VP. She took the lead in attacking “anti-Semitism” on campuses, and was brutal in her confrontations with university presidents during Congressional hearings, playing a role in the resignation of two presidents. She has also been a loud voice in attacks on the International Criminal Court. On May 18, she went to Israel to address Knesset members, praising Netanyahu and Trump, and trashing Biden. “As Bibi leads @Israel through one of the darkest moments in its history, we must stand unequivocally with Israel against Iran and their proxies who seek to destroy the only democracy in the Middle East,” she posted on X. Her comments were widely covered, with one Jewish newspaper describing her trip as campaigning for the VP slot (that is, for Trump). Trump has said he may wait until the Republican Convention to announce his choice for VP, but praised her during recent campaign events.