Transition team divided over Romney for secretary of state
Donald Trump’s hunt for a secretary of state is veering into dramatic terrain, with the president-elect summoning Mitt Romney back for a second look as a top aide leads a public pressure campaign against the pick.
Trump has a follow-up meeting Tuesday with the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who has become a symbol of the internal divisions agitating the transition team. He also plans to sit with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On Monday, Trump spent an hour with retired Gen. David Petraeus, a new contender.
Aides were divided over Trump’s choices, particularly the prospect that Trump could tap Romney for the top-tier diplomatic post. In an unusual public airing of internal machinations, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday warned that the president-elect’s supporters would feel “betrayed” if he tapped Romney as secretary of state. On Tuesday morning, the Trump transition team announced the selection of Georgia Rep. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. It also announced that Seema Verma has been chosen to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. While other staffing decisions were being made, the search for secretary of state was still underway.
Trump was considering former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to head the Homeland Security Department, according to those close to the transition process. Giuliani was initially the front-runner for secretary of state and is still in the mix. But questions about his overseas business dealings, as well as his public campaigning for the job, have given Trump pause. Those close to the transition insisted on anonymity in commenting because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the private process.
Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.