What just one week ago seemed ludicrous - Trump picking his former arch nemesis Mitt Romney as Secretary of State - now appears imminent. According to a WSJ report, the President-elect is leaning toward asking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to be his secretary of state.
In a less surprising pick, Trump is allegely also likely to name retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of defense in his administration, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the leading candidate to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, the people said.
However, one thing that is said to be delaying Trump’s decision (and announcement) about the secretary of state is an internal tug of war between supporters of Romney, and those urging the selection of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. A third group is pressing the president-elect to keep searching for candidates. According to the WSJ, Trump views Romney "as the prototypical choice to be the nation’s top diplomat, and a group of advisers inside the transition are pushing him to select the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Two people said Mr. Trump is inclined to select Mr. Romney."
The history between Trump and Romney is familiar: the two were very critical of each other during the 2016 campaign, but both men are now said to be ready to put that behind them. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, also a former governor, greeted Mr. Romney personally outside the Bedminster, N.J., golf club where Mr. Trump was interviewing prospective appointees over the weekend, a rare courtesy shown to the guests. On Sunday, Mr. Pence said the session between Mr. Trump and Mr. Romney was “a very substantive meeting.”
Still, an internal faction within the Trump camp is still pushing for Rudy Giuliani, who was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest supporters and has openly campaigned for the job. Giuliani, after leaving the mayor’s office, created a security consulting firm that has contracts with some foreign governments, including Qatar and Colombia.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaking to reporters after meeting with Mr. Trump on Monday, said “there are huge advantages to Rudy Giuliani frankly, I think that, if you want someone who is going to go out and be a very tough negotiator for America and represent American interest in the way that Trump campaigned, I think that probably Rudy is a better pick and has the right temperament.”
For now no decision has been made yet: Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, told the WSJ “absolutely no decision has been made” on secretary of state. However, one is likely imminent, and should Trump pick the definition of the establishment GOP, the president-elect may have to once again explain just which "swamp" he was referring to, when he said he would go ahead and drain it.