Gi­u­liani ‘fa­vorite’ as Trump weighs sec­re­tary of state

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Se­questered in his Man­hat­tan high-rise, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is pre­par­ing to fill key for­eign pol­icy posts. For­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani has emerged as the fa­vorite to serve as sec­re­tary of state, a se­nior Trump of­fi­cial said. Al­though Gi­u­liani has lit­tle for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence, the of­fi­cial said there was no real com­pe­ti­tion for the job as the na­tion’s top diplo­mat.

How­ever, a sec­ond of­fi­cial cau­tioned that John Bolton, a for­mer US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, re­mained in con­tention for the key post. Both of­fi­cials re­quested anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the process by name. The New York bil­lion­aire also was con­sid­er­ing tap­ping Richard Grenell as US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, a move that would bring some ex­pe­ri­ence and di­ver­sity to his nascent ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Grenell, who served as US spokesman at the UN un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush, would be the first openly gay per­son to fill a Cab­i­net-level for­eign pol­icy post. The per­son­nel moves un­der con­sid­er­a­tion were con­firmed by peo­ple with di­rect knowl­edge of Trump’s think­ing who were not au­tho­rized to pub­licly dis­close pri­vate dis­cus­sions. Gi­u­liani, 72, would be an out-of-box choice to lead the State Depart­ment. A for­mer mayor, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor and top Trump ad­viser, Gi­u­liani is known for his hard-line lawand-order views.

‘Very good choice’

Bolton has years of fed­eral govern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence, but he has also raised eye­brows with some of his hawk­ish stances, in­clud­ing a 2015 New York Times op-ed 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 dur­ing an ap­pear­ance in Wash­ing­ton late Mon­day, Gi­u­liani said that Bolton would be a “very good choice” to serve as Trump’s sec­re­tary of state. Asked if there was any­one bet­ter, Gi­u­liani replied: “Maybe me, I don’t know.”

Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence was ex­pected to join the in­com­ing pres­i­dent at Trump Tower on Tues­day to re­view “a num­ber of names” for the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, according to spokesman Ja­son Miller. “If the vice pres­i­dent-elect is get­ting to­gether with the pres­i­dent elect to dis­cuss names, I would say it’s get­ting se­ri­ous,” Miller said. The tran­si­tion planning comes amid 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.

‘Western val­ues’

“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. Echo­ing con­cerns from of­fi­cials in both par­ties, she called Bannon’s ap­point­ment “an alarm­ing sig­nal” that Trump “re­mains com­mit­ted to the hate­ful and di­vi­sive vi­sion that de­fined his cam­paign.” Un­til join­ing Trump’s cam­paign this sum­mer, Bannon led a web­site that ap­pealed to the so-called “alt-right” - a move­ment of­ten as­so­ci­ated with ef­forts on the far right to pre­serve “white iden­tity,” op­pose mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and de­fend “Western val­ues.” —AP

For­mer New York City Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani

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