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Trump's Transition Team Divided Over Choice for Secretary of State

  • VOA Staff

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are seen in this composite photo.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are seen in this composite photo.

A rift on President-elect Donald Trump's transition team over who will serve as his secretary of state has gone public, leaving open the future national security role until differences can be resolved.

Rival groups within the president-elect's transition team are divided between 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

In a Twitter post Thursday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway expressed the sentiments of the faction opposed to Romney.

FILE - President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as Mitt Romney leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 19, 2016.

FILE - President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as Mitt Romney leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 19, 2016.

Conway said she had received a "deluge" of concern from people who questioned the loyalty of Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who assailed Trump as a "phony" during the presidential campaign.

Messy confirmation fight

Those opposed to Giuliani as secretary of state contend his extensive business relationships with foreign interests would most likely lead to a messy Senate confirmation fight. They also question whether the 72-year-old has the stamina to meet the demands of international travel the job requires.

The president-elect, who has developed a reputation for changing his mind, has praised both Romney and Giuliani. Trump apparently told aides that Romney "looks the part" of secretary of state and is said to have spoken glowingly of Giuliani in recent discussions with associates.

FILE - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, center, smiles as he leaves Trump Tower, Nov. 11, 2016, in New York.

FILE - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, center, smiles as he leaves Trump Tower, Nov. 11, 2016, in New York.

Others who have been said to be in the running for the position include former CIA Director David Petraeus and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. And recent reports have said retired Marine Corps General John Kelly is under consideration.

On Friday, Trump appointed Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland to serve as deputy national security adviser and Donald F. McGahn to serve as assistant to the president and White House counsel.

McFarland has served in national security posts with several previous Republican administrations, and McGahn is a well-known campaign finance lawyer. No more announcements are expected until Monday.

As Trump spent the Thanksgiving Day holiday Thursday with his family at his Florida resort, he took to Twitter to say he was working to fulfill a campaign promise to create and preserve jobs. The billionaire real estate mogul said he was "working hard ... trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. MAKING PROGRESS - Will know soon!"

The air conditioner manufacturer responded on Twitter by saying it has had "discussions with the incoming administration" but had "nothing to announce at this time."

Carrier said earlier this year it would move 1,400 jobs from the Midwestern state of Indiana to Mexico within three years.

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