The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the favorite to serve as secretary of state in Donald Trump’s incoming administration, a senior Trump official said on Monday — another indication the president-elect is putting a prize on loyalty as he narrows down his Cabinet picks.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and requested anonymity, said there was no real competition for the job and that it was Giuliani’s if he wanted it. But a second official cautioned that John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, remained in contention for the job.
Giuliani, 72, would be an out-of-box choice to lead the State Department. A former mayor, federal prosecutor and top Trump adviser, he lacks extensive foreign policy experience. Known for his hard-line law-and-order views and brusque manner, he would set a very different tone than previous holders of the job, including Trump’s ex-rival Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
Bolton has years of federal government experience, but he has also raised eyebrows with some of his hawkish stances, including a 2015 op-ed in The New York Times in which he advocated bombing Iran to halt the country’s development of nuclear weapons.
A spokeswoman for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his interest in the job. But the former mayor said Monday night at a gathering of CEOs sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that he “won’t be attorney general” in Trump’s administration — a job for which he’d long been seen as a top contender.
Asked about the secretary of state speculation, Giuliani said that Bolton “would be a very good choice.” But asked if there was anyone better, he replied with a mischievous smile: “Maybe me, I don’t know.”
Trump was also considering Monday whether to inject new diversity into the GOP by recommending a woman to lead the Republican Party and an openly gay man to represent the United States at the United Nations.
The moves, among dozens under consideration from his transition team, follow an intense and extended backlash from Trump’s decision on Sunday to appoint Steve Bannon, a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement, to serve as his chief strategist and senior adviser.
“After winning the presidency but losing the popular vote, President-elect Trump must try to bring Americans together — not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. She called Bannon’s appointment “an alarming signal” that Trump “remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign.”