Searching for common sense in politics

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trump Widens Secretary of State Search

President-elect Donald Trump has broadened his search for a Secretary of State beyond Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and the small group that he was originally believed to be considering.

Here is a quick rundown of each of the rumored contenders:

Mitt Romney

Nominating Romney would seem to be a sign of Trump offering an olive branch to the moderate, establishment wing of the Republican Party. Just the fact that he is even (reportedly) considering Romney is one of the strongest signs that Trump is willing to govern more from the center than originally thought. It still would surprise me if Romney would even be interested in the post, unless he is desperate to restore his image. I suspect this whole thing, and the two meetings between the two men, is about something else entirely.

Rudy Giuliani

I don't know why Trump would nominate Rudy, other than to repay him for his loyalty and support. Giuliani has no foreign policy experience, and nominating him would excite almost nobody, except maybe a few New Yorkers who remember the 90's, or hardcore Trump fans who loved watching Giuliani's rants on Fox News during the election.

David Petraeus

Nominating Petraeus would be nothing more than Trump trying to prove once again that he will do whatever he wants, regardless of the conventional wisdom. Petraeus really brings nothing to the table except controversy. I doubt he would even get through the Senate confirmation, with Democrats hating him and Republicans being wary of him. That last point might actually be the strongest indicator that Trump is seriously considering him. There's nothing Trump likes more than to prove people wrong.

Bob Corker

Corker would be a good pick if Trump wants to cozy up to the conservative wing of the Republican Party. He is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which qualifies him for the position as much as any of the other contenders, and certainly more than some (see: Giuliani, Rudy). I wonder if that is the only reason that Trump has considered him. It doesn't appear that he is wildly excited about Corker. This seems to be more of a "by the book" consideration. Or maybe Trump is not considering Corker at all, but the rumors have just surfaced because of Corker's position. Sometimes the media creates "contenders" for positions when they are not getting enough real ones.

John Bolton

Bolton was the Ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush, which makes him a qualified candidate. However, he was so unpopular with Democrats that Bush had to make him a recess appointment because he would not have been confirmed otherwise. He might be the polar opposite of John Kerry. He is a strong nationalist who is not crazy about the UN. He certainly will not get the support of many, or any, Democrats, and even some Republicans may oppose him, which would make it difficult to get him confirmed. Plus, he looks like the curmudgeonly old man next door.

Jon Huntsman

Huntsman is a moderate Republican, like Romney, but he may be more palatable to Trump's base. He also has extensive foreign policy experience, as he has been the Ambassador to both Singapore and China. Perhaps he could share his China expertise with Trump and help avoid further embarrassments like the Trump Taiwan call, although he said that Trump was right to take the call. Huntsman was appointed the Ambassador to China by Obama, and he showed a willingness to work with Democrats as a governor, so his confirmation might be an easy one.


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