US president-elect, Donald Trump’s search for a secretary of state is becoming dramatic, with the Trump summoning Mitt Romney back for a second look as a top aide leads a public pressure campaign against the pick.
Trump is scheduled for a follow-up meeting on 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. Trump on Monday, also 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.
Exiting Trump Tower on Monday night, Vice President-elect Mike Pence simply teased “a number of very important announcements tomorrow.”
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. Petraeus said he spent about an hour with the president-elect and praised him for showing a “great grasp of a variety of the challenges that are out there.”
The former CIA chief pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information relating to documents he had provided to his biographer, with whom he was having an affair.
Pence, who is heading the transition effort, is said to be among those backing Romney for secretary of state. Romney was fiercely critical of Trump throughout the campaign but is interested in the Cabinet position, and they discussed it during a lengthy meeting earlier this month