- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 02 December 2016
- Written by BRENDEN GREVE | CO-POLITICS EDITOR
President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing the members of his new administration but the process has not been without infighting and division among the Republican party and the members of his transition team.
The most highly contested position in the Trump’s transition process is for who will become the next Secretary of State, the most powerful foreign diplomat in the United States. Former GOP nominee for President in 2012 and outspoken critic of Trump during the Republican primaries for president, Mitt Romney, and former New York City Mayor and Trump loyalist, Rudy Giuliani, are viewed by many as the top two contenders for the position.
According to multiple news outlets, other names that have been considered for the job are former Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker, Retired Marine General John Kelly, and even Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard.
The consideration of Romney as Secretary has been met with serious criticism. The most notable criticism has come from Trump’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. She has come out publicly to criticize the former GOP candidate on CNN and said, “It’s just breathtaking in scope and intensity the type of messages I have received from all over the country.”
She then said, “The number of people who feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney would get the most prominent Cabinet post, after he went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump — there was the ‘Never Trump’ movement, and then there was Mitt Romney.”
She added, “I respect the brilliance and judgment and sheer instincts of president-elect Trump to form his Cabinet as he wishes. But I felt compelled to come forward on behalf of the people who were weighing in.”
The appointment of Romney as Secretary of State would be looked at by many as a pivot to the middle of the political spectrum. Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth, Stephen Chapman, said, “The potential choice of Romney as Secretary of State signals a relatively moderate move, given Trump’s campaign rhetoric,” and added, “While this could benefit Trump by appealing to a larger portion of citizens, it has produced some backlash from staunch conservatives.” He said that the open criticism by Trump’s former campaign manager is rather unprecedented but that, “I think the general rules of politics don’t apply to him.”
Associate Professor of Political Science at Monmouth, Joseph Patten, said, “It seems that the stronger voice is against Romney.” However, he said, “My general view is that you run a primary to your base and govern to the middle” and that, “It’s always good to govern in the middle.”
A University alumnus and assistant campaign manager for the Pennsylvania GOP, Tyler Vandegrift, said, “The President’s main power is in foreign policy so the Secretary of State needs to be someone who will carry out the will of the President.”
He added, “While I believe Mitt Romney would make a great diplomat; I also believe that he wouldn’t be willing to follow a foreign policy if it differs from his ideology.” He also said, “Romney could be a great way to bring in more people, but whoever Trump or the transition team picks for the Secretary of state definitely illustrates the direction he would like to take.”
However, Trump can still appeal to his base while appointing the moderate Romney. Chapman said, “Trump’s choice of very conservative Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General signals a win for Trump’s most ardent supporters. Sessions is both socially and economically conservative and embodies much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric throughout his political experience.”
On the infighting, Chapman said, “This was no more obvious than when his own campaign manager came out against the Romney choice” and added, “This was a relatively unprecedented move, but it highlights Trump trying to strike a more moderate balance and the hardline conservative base feeling slighted. This will be a recurring problem in relation to policymaking under the new administration.”
image taken from ABCnews.com