Donald J. Trump met in New Jersey on Monday with Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, as he screens potential running mates in a series of meetings.
One person briefed on the process, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that the campaign began vetting Ms. Ernst in recent days as a possible vice-presidential pick. But it is not clear how seriously Ms. Ernst is being considered for a position that Mr. Trump has kept close counsel about filling.
Jason Miller, a senior communications adviser for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. In a statement on Monday, Ms. Ernst confirmed that she had met with Mr. Trump.
Ms. Ernst is a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel and a veteran of the Iraq war. Her military background could help Mr. Trump given his lack of foreign policy experience or national security experience. The fact that she is a woman could also help Mr. Trump with a group of voters with whom he currently polls poorly.
Ms. Ernst is also considered a possible keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, which begins on July 18 in Cleveland.
In the statement, Ms. Ernst said that her focus was on defeating Hillary Clinton, saying, “I had a good conversation with Donald Trump today, and we discussed what I am hearing from Iowans as I travel around the state on my 99-county tour, and the best path forward for our country.”
She added: “I will continue to share my insights with Donald about the need to strengthen our economy, keep our nation safe and ensure America is always a strong, stabilizing force around the globe.”
According to a source briefed on the meeting, both Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist who is handling much of the vice presidential search, and Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, also attended.
It is unusual in recent history for a presumptive nominee of a major party to tease out the process for choosing a running mate in such a public way, but it is in reflective of Mr. Trump’s approach on his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”
Earlier in the weekend, Mr. Trump met with Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, another potential vice-presidential candidate. The two met at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., where Mr. Trump is expected to meet with Ms. Ernst.
In a post on Twitter on Monday, Mr. Trump praised Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, another military veteran who some Republicans hope will be chosen by Mr. Trump.
Meanwhile, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and another potential vice presidential nominee, is set to appear with Mr. Trump at an event in North Carolina on Tuesday. It will be the first time that any of the people on Mr. Trump’s short list of contenders will appear with him since he began the process in earnest.