Trump huddling with Pence as he nears Cabinet decisions
NEW YORK (AP) — Sequestered in his Manhattan high-rise, Donald Trump was huddling today with Vice President-elect Mike Pence as he moved closer to filing out his Cabinet, including top national security 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. A second official, however, cautioned that John Bolton, a former U.S. 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.
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed interest in the State Department post and said his team has had "some conversations" with Trump officials. The Tennessee Republican told MSNBC, however, there were others who were more "central" to Trump's presidential campaign for the post.
Even as Trump narrowed in on top appointments, there were signs of tumult within his transition team. Former Rep. Mike Rogers, a well-respected Republican voice on national security, announced his resignation from the transition team today, a move likely to rattle GOP officials who worry about Trump's lack of foreign-policy credentials.
Trump had already rejiggered his transition team after winning the election, putting Pence in charge and demoting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The switch has slowed Trump's ability to coordinate with the White House. Pence has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding facilitating interactions between transition officials and Obama administration officials, effectively pausing those efforts.
Christie had previously signed the document, but it's no longer valid given Pence's promotion. And Pentagon and State Department officials say they have yet to hear from the transition team.