In a slew of unexpected cabinet appointments and hopefuls that even upend some previous reports, President-elect Donald Trump nominated South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; is considering Mitt Romney for secretary of state, and Ben Carson for secretary of HUD.
The story here isn’t that Trump is using his supporters, those on the fence, and his sworn enemies in the campaign to their best abilities. Yes, that’s a great sign of what we might expect from Trump as a hands-off, forgive-and-forget leader (not counting the media, which he never forgives or forgets).
But the biggest story is that the media has no clue what Trump is going to do. He floats names, arranges leaks, trial balloons, and spins through various surrogates. The media reports things. Then Trump does what he wants, and many times the media is blindsided.
Haley’s name has floated around since the election, but Carson reportedly declined any post. Romney met with Trump last weekend at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J. golf resort. Only one of the names under consideration has been formally announced. The rest could be more media play, Trump spin, or simply a trial balloon to gauge reaction.
Haley is a lock for the U.N. post:
“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” Trump said in a statement. “She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”
Haley, who has accepted the offer, said she is “honored that the President-elect has asked me to join his team and serve the country we love.’’
Mitt Romney seems to be tailor-made for the job at State (“straight out of central casting).
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported the president-elect is leaning toward nominating Romney to serve as secretary of State, with Rudy Giuliani another top contender.
Trump considers Romney to be the prototypical choice for the job, according to the report.
Trump tweeted that he’s looking at Ben Carson for HUD.
I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I've gotten to know him well–he's a greatly talented person who loves people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Carson told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that the offer was on the table. He had previously indicated he didn’t think he was qualified for a senior government position. Trump’s tweet may mean the president-elect doesn’t easily take “no” for an answer.
“I know that I grew up in the inner city,” Carson said. “And have spent a lot of time there. And have dealt with a lot of patients from that area. And recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities. And we have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something.”
Personally, I’d love to see Romney as secretary of state. He’s the anti-Clinton and would fix many of the institutional issues she created and current Secretary of State John Kerry failed to correct. He would also be a needed counterweight to Stephen Bannon in Trump’s closest political circle. Romney is every bit Bannon’s match in intellect and experience, but his polar opposite in ethics and moral worldview.
Having Carson in the mix would also add some “love” to the administration. Maybe Trump could simply call the position “Secretary of Love” and give it to Carson. Haley is just solid.
Now we need to see who Trump will go to for Defense and Treasury, rounding out his cabinet. And since he has indicated that Hillary Clinton will get off the hook for her decades of corruption, maybe there’s even a place for her in the incoming administration.