Uncertainty Grows Over Trump’s State Department Pick

Rand Paul: Bolton, Giuliani Not Acceptable Candidates

Speculation continues to grow on several positions in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet, but nowhere is the attention more intense than on the future Secretary of State, with the early “front-runners” losing favor rapidly.

While a lot of media reports included several potential figures, John Bolton was seen as the main candidate for awhile. He’d clearly be a problematic choice, as an outspoken hawk with little patience for diplomacy, as America’s top diplomat.

Reports then suggested former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani was the front-runner, but there are growing concern about the money he took from the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) when the group was still listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. The MeK bankrolled a heavy lobbying campaign with several high-profile figures, like Giuliani, advocating for them and finally getting them off the terror list.

Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY), who holds the potential deciding vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been quick to say he doesn’t consider either of them a suitable candidate. Sen. Paul was said to back committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R – TN) as an alternative who is “not likely to be loading the bombs to go to Iran tomorrow.”

Former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Burt is also considered a possible alternative. A realist, Burt is primarily known as the chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1). Burt also served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, and is the American chair of the global anti nuclear weapons group Global Zero.

Talk also emerged Wednesday that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA), a member of the House International Relations Committee. Rohrabacher was one of only a handful of Congressmen to oppose US sanctions against Russia in recent years, and would likely fit well in the position given the priority Trump has made of rapprochement with Russia.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster claimed Gov. Nikki Haley might be under consideration. McMaster claimed he was in talk with the transition team and was himself under consideration for attorney general.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.