Former Harris aide says Vance would pose ‘greatest threat’ in VP debate

Ashley Etienne, a former communications director for Vice President Harris, said Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) would be the greatest threat on a debate stage to her former boss.

“I think JD Vance would pose the greatest threat to Kamala Harris,” Etienne told CNN’s Laura Coates in response to a question during an interview Friday.

“I mean, he’s an incredible debater. I think he has this quality that makes him seem palpable to that 1 to 2 percent that actually might vote or that’s undecided, that will actually pay attention to the debates because most people don’t pay attention to the debates.

“I think he’s just got a quality about him where he’s super smart and sharp and quick-witted. I just think they’d like it, I think it’s going to be a challenge to see the two of them face-to-face. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I think he’s gonna be the greatest threat,” she added.

Coates had noted that former President Trump may be choosing a vice presidential candidate based on who he thinks would do well in a debate against Harris.

Trump has ramped up his vice presidential search this month, sending vetting requests to some potential candidates. That list includes North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Vance.

Tump’s list also reportedly includes Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Ben Carson, his former Housing and Urban Development secretary.

Vance was elected to the Senate last year, and at age 39, he is one of the youngest members of the Senate and one of the youngest on Trump’s potential vice president list.

In the days after a New York jury convicted Trump of 34 felony counts, Vance took to television to defend him alongside other potential vice presidential candidates.

Last week, Trump told Fox News’s Aishah Hasnie that his vice presidential pick was probably in the room with him when he met with the entire Republican congressional delegation on Capitol Hill.

Trump has said that he will unveil his pick at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, which will take place July 15-18.

Harris has said she is ready to face any of the potential candidates for vice president.

“I’m ready to make the case — whoever he picks, no matter who it is,” she said, according to a Democratic National Committee news release.

During the 2020 election, Harris faced off against former Vice President Mike Pence, and a CNN poll at the time showed that nearly 6 in 10 voters who watched the debate believed that Harris won.

This story was updated at 2:03 p.m.

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