Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior political reporters Allan Smith and Alex Seitz-Wald report on a candidate who’s on both Donald Trump’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s VP lists. Plus, senior national politics reporter Jonathan Allen breaks down Trump’s growing campaign and legal cash problems.

Trump and Kennedy Jr. have one name in common on their VP lists

By Allan Smith and Alex Seitz-Wald

There’s never a shortage of ambitious politicians eager to put their hand up (or have others do so for them) during the vice presidential selection process. But even by usual standards, a wide range of unexpected and unconventional names are already in the mix for this year’s veepstakes.

NBC News reported that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is rising up the list of Donald Trump’s potential running mates, which the former president estimated stands at 15 people. Rubio, who was derided by Trump as “Little Marco” when they ran against each other in 2016, said it would be an “honor” to be offered a spot on the ticket.

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Meanwhile, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has considered several contenders well outside the political sphere, including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and TV host Mike Rowe

Now a new name has entered the fray — for both Trump and Kennedy. 

Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, is under consideration for both the Republican and independent presidential tickets, two sources familiar with the candidates’ deliberations told NBC News.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for the one-time progressive rising star, who within the span of eight years has gone from supporting Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign to running for the Democratic presidential nomination herself in 2020, eventually endorsing Joe Biden, before then gravitating to the right and becoming a regular conservative media personality and conference speaker. 

It’s also exceedingly rare for a politician to attract interest from more than one presidential ticket. But Gabbard’s 2024 possibilities are not fully in her control, nor are they both equally likely.

As one source said, Gabbard would be more likely to seriously consider running as Kennedy’s vice presidential nominee had she not been swept up by the possibility of serving with Trump. This person said Gabbard “was enticed” by the chance of serving on Kennedy’s ticket but is now focused on the possibility that Trump will select her. 

Trump allies and insiders say that while she may be getting a look from the former president, she’s an unlikely choice at best, though she could still land another role in the campaign or in a potential future administration.

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Trump’s cash problems keep piling up

Analysis by Jonathan Allen

Trump has a wealth of cash problems.

For starters, his legal team told a court this week that financial institutions are uniformly unwilling to back a bond for the $464 million civil fraud judgment levied against him and his co-conspirators in New York. That puts him at risk of having property seized.

If the liquidity squeeze wasn’t bad enough, his campaign committee, which takes in the “hard” dollars that are most valuable to campaigns, isn’t raising enough. At the end of February, Trump’s campaign had just $33.5 million on hand, compared to $71 million for Biden’s campaign.

Trump won while being outraised in 2016. He also lost that way in 2020. But he and his team understand that they’re going to need substantial money to compete effectively, even if he can’t match Biden dollar for dollar.

Early next month, Trump plans to host a fundraiser featuring heavy-hitting Republican donors, some of whom had drifted away from him before he sewed up his third consecutive nomination this month. With joint fundraising agreements in place with the Republican National Committee and state party committees, Trump will be able to take in checks of more than $800,000 from single donors. That should help him make up some of the difference.

But he’s still facing four criminal trials and sundry civil actions that are sure to keep putting a pinch on his campaign cash as long as he pays his lawyers through political vehicles.

The big X factor may be the willingness of his fans to bolster the stock price of the parent company for his Truth Social media platform, which could be worth as much as $4 billion for Trump if he sells his stake in it six months after a pending initial public offering. From a campaign perspective, that may be too late for an infusion to fundamentally alter the race. But nearly any problem can be mitigated by several billion dollars.

For now, expect Trump to continue to lag behind Biden in fundraising. But the real question isn’t whether he can keep up with his rival in the cash dash — he probably can’t — it’s whether he will sink himself under the combined weight of legal debt and lackluster campaign fundraising.

🗞️ Today’s top stories

  • 👀 Shutdown watch: Lawmakers released the text of a $1.2 trillion government funding deal on Thursday morning, but it’s not clear if the package will pass in time to avert a partial government shutdown on Friday. Read more →
  • 💲 Project 2025: The Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025” initiative, which has sought to develop conservative policy recommendations and a cohort of potential staffers for the next Republican administration, has been funded by millions of dollars from the Koch network and the conservative activist Leonard Leo. Read more →
  • 💸 Top dollar: Jeff Yass, a libertarian trading firm owner and investor in TikTok’s Chinese-based parent company ByteDance, is the biggest donor of the 2024 election cycle so far, giving more than $46 million to Republican causes, Reuters reports. Read more →
  • More debt canceled: The Biden administration canceled another $6 billion in student loan debt for 78,000 public service workers, including teachers, nurses and firefighters. Read more →
  • 💪 Women of the Midwest: The Biden campaign is planning to rely heavily on two popular women in two key battleground states to give him a boost: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Read more →
  • 🔥 OH it’s on: Now that the Ohio Senate primary is over, Republican Bernie Moreno and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown are racing to define each other ahead of a hotly contested general election that will be key to control of the upper chamber. Read more →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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