Battle surrounds Trump secretary of state choice
PALM BEACH, Florida:
As families across a bitterly divided America gathered for Thanksgiving, a battle erupted Thursday in Donald Trump’s camp over his pick for secretary of state, with loyalists seeking to block the path of Mitt Romney, a fierce former critic of the billionaire. With the president-elect hunkered down at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the holiday weekend - from where he urged the country to unite after a “painful” campaign - his team appears split over the prospect of making Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, America’s top diplomat.
Some of Trump’s staunchest supporters have united to oppose naming a man who called the real estate magnate a “fraud” and a “conman” during the campaign, when he helped lead the party establishment’s drive to sideline him. But the other leading choice for top diplomat, outspoken former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani - one of Trump’s loudest supporters from early in his campaign has drawn scrutiny for business dealings that could pose conflicts of interest.
Opposition to Romney
Despite his lack of experience in foreign policy, Giuliani, 72, has openly lobbied for secretary of state, telling Trump’s advisers he is interested in no other position, The New York Times reported. However, Giuliani’s candidacy has drawn attention to business dealings with foreign governments that may rule him out. Picking Romney who lost the White House race to Barack Obama four years ago - would reassure the Republican establishment and US allies worried about Trump’s foreign policy.
But the businessman and former Massachusetts governor who savaged Trump’s candidacy during the campaign also publicly differs from him on Russia, a leading foreign policy challenge. While the president-elect has praised President Vladimir Putin, promising to improve strained relations with Moscow, Romney has called Russia America’s “number-one geopolitical foe”. Trump’s close aide Kellyanne Conway cast further doubt on his suitability Thursday in what appeared to be a bad sign for Romney. — AFP