Trump band­wagon grows as tran­si­tion heats up Gi­u­liani, Christie top pos­si­ble list

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI AND GUY TAY­LOR

The Trump band­wagon is growing quickly as the tran­si­tion team scram­bles to put to­gether a full slate of lead­ers to fill out the ad­min­is­tra­tion and plot an agenda, and is leav­ing lob­by­ists on the out­skirts.

One tran­si­tion team mem­ber, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity, said an all­hands meet­ing just before the elec­tion was sparsely at­tended. Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing had 10 times more peo­ple.

Although some of those lead­ing tran­si­tion teams on en­ergy or home­land se­cu­rity are lob­by­ists, most of those in the room are not. In­stead, think-tank types from places such as The Her­itage Foun­da­tion are prom­i­nent. That is a break from pre­vi­ous tran­si­tion teams, where lob­by­ists have dom­i­nated.

“It is very much a nonof­fi­cial Washington crowd,” the team mem­ber said.

For­mer New York Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani is of­fi­cially open to be­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral in a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, and New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, who might have trou­ble sur­viv­ing con­fir­ma­tion to a Cabi­net post, is be­ing sug­gested as a nat­u­ral chief of staff.

Mr. Gi­u­liani and Mr. Christie, both top Trump sur­ro­gates dur­ing the cam­paign, are two of many names sur­fac­ing as po­ten­tial picks for top gov­ern­ment posts in the next ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I cer­tainly have the en­ergy, and there’s prob­a­bly no­body that knows the Jus­tice Depart­ment bet­ter than me,” Mr. Gi­u­liani, an as­so­ci­ate at­tor­ney gen­eral in the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, said Thurs­day on CNN.

Mr. Christie, who is run­ning Mr. Trump’s tran­si­tion team, could also be at­tor­ney gen­eral or home­land se­cu­rity sec­re­tary — though af­ter the re­cent con­vic­tions of top aides in the Bridge­gate scan­dal, a con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing might be touchy. Chief of staff would of­fer him a top post with­out hav­ing to face a Se­nate vote.

“The bot­tom line is that I have a job to do to help get the ad­min­is­tra­tion ready,” Mr. Christie said Thurs­day on NBC’s “To­day” pro­gram. “If there’s some role for me that I want to do and that the pres­i­dent-elect wants me to do, we’ve known each other for 14 years — we’ll talk about it.”

An­other name that has been men­tioned for a pos­si­ble chief of staff role is Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus, who helped Mr. Trump win a stun­ning vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton and over­saw the party’s suc­cess­ful ef­forts to keep its ma­jori­ties in the U.S. House and Se­nate.

Mr. Priebus said on Fox News on Thurs­day that he wasn’t sure if he saw him­self hav­ing a role in the ad­min­is­tra­tion and such de­ci­sions would be up to Mr. Trump.

Steve Ban­non, Mr. Trump’s cam­paign CEO, was also re­port­edly under con­sid­er­a­tion for the chief of staff post.

The list of po­ten­tial Cabi­net members is pop­u­lated with members of Congress who work on those ar­eas.

Rep. Jeff Miller, Flor­ida Repub­li­can, is said to be a lead­ing can­di­date for sec­re­tary to clean up the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs. As chair­man of the House Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, he is a chief critic of the way the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has run the VA.

Ok­la­homa Gov. Mary Fallin and for­mer Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are mooted to be on the list to head the In­te­rior Depart­ment.

The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Thurs­day that Rep. Jeb Hen­sar­ling, the Texas Repub­li­can who chairs the House Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, is be­ing con­sid­ered for Trea­sury sec­re­tary.

Other loyal sup­port­ers who could be in line for a Cabi­net or sec­re­tary po­si­tion are Sen. Jeff Ses­sions of Alabama, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich and re­tired neu­ro­sur­geon Ben Car­son.

Mr. Gin­grich told ra­dio host Sean Han­nity this week that he could en­vi­sion him­self as sort of a “se­nior plan­ner” — “try­ing to think through how we fun­da­men­tally, at the most ba­sic lev­els, re­struc­ture the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

A few peo­ple said to be on Mr. Trump’s short list for key na­tional se­cu­rity posts are House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Repub­li­can, and re­tired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the for­mer di­rec­tor of the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Sources say Mr. Trump is closely con­sid­er­ing Mr. Flynn to be na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, while Mr. McCaul is be­ing eyed for the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment’s top job.

Keith Kel­logg, a re­tired Army lieu­tenant gen­eral, is in charge of the tran­si­tion on the de­fense side, which also in­cludes the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, and Mira Ri­cardel, who was act­ing as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fense in the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, is work­ing under Mr. Kel­logg, De­fense One re­ported this week.

Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach, a staunch il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion op­po­nent and early Trump sup­porter, told The Wi­chita Ea­gle this week that he has been asked to join Mr. Trump’s tran­si­tion team but said he had no ex­pec­ta­tion of an of­fer for an ad­min­is­tra­tion post.

Mr. Car­son, an­other for­mer ri­val of Mr. Trump’s who was a top sur­ro­gate, would seem­ingly fit the job de­scrip­tion for sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices.

“These are all things that are under dis­cus­sion,” Mr. Car­son said Thurs­day on Fox News. “I think you can do a lot from out­side the gov­ern­ment, my­self.”

State Depart­ment deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the Trump camp had not sent an en­voy to be­gin dis­cussing the tran­si­tion process.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.