Cabinet auditions over, appointments soon
US President-elect Donald Trump wrapped up a busy weekend of meetings with cabinet hopefuls at his golf club retreat outside New York, hinting new appointments should come soon.
The Republican billionaireturned-world-leader signalled he is seriously considering retired Marine Corps general James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be his Pentagon chief, heaping praise on him.
When asked before dinner on November 20 at his Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey if he would soon reveal new nominations, Mr Trump told reporters. “Pretty true,” confirming he had “made a couple of deals”.
But Mr Trump made the drive back to Manhattan after two days in Bedminster, and no new picks were revealed.
Beyond Mr Mattis, the top names on the guest list were Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was recently ousted as the leader of Mr Trump’s transition team, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and immigration hardliner Kris Kobach.
The president-elect was clearly seeking to sound out people from a wide range of backgrounds, from party stalwarts to business moguls and former rivals.
Some of Mr Trump’s choices for other key posts so far – attorney general, national security adviser and chief White House strategist –have come under fire from Democrats and other critics.
But he has also moved to mend fences with moderate Republicans as he goes about building a new administration before his January 20 inauguration.
On November 19, he interviewed one-time foe Mitt Romney – the 2012 Republican presidential candidate who called him a “fraud” during the recent campaign – for the secretary of state position reportedly coveted by Mr Giuliani.
Mr Trump, 70, was wowed by Mr Mattis, who led the US Central Command from 2010 to 2013, overseeing the US withdrawal from Iraq and a surge in Afghanistan.
Mr Trump called the 66-year-old “the real deal”.
Mr Christie, who threw his support to Mr Trump after his own bid for the Republican nomination fizzled, appeared back in favour.
The campaign said the pair had a “productive discussion” on law enforcement and domestic security.
Others who met Mr Trump included Wilbur Ross, under consideration for commerce secretary, global investor David McCormick, real estate investor Jonathan Gray and Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television.
Mr Trump’s picks so far include ultra-conservative Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, hawkish congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA director and retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. –