According to the insiders, President-elect Donald Trump is torn between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani for secretary of state. The Hill reported that there was much discussion about the two at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Thanksgiving dinner, with Trump asking several attendees where they fell on the choice.
But other sources say that Trump is still keeping an open mind and has not necessarily narrowed his options to just two frontrunners. Some at Mar-a-Lago were encouraging him to choose former UN Ambassador John Bolton for the position. And others say Trump might go in a truly jarring direction by choosing a Democrat to run the State Department.
House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard came to minor prominence in February when she resigned from the Democratic National Committee so she could endorse Bernie Sanders for the nomination. The Hawaiian congresswoman surprised Sanders supporters last week when she met with President-elect Trump. In a statement after the meeting, Gabbard defended her decision to cross the aisle.
“Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance,” she said.
In some ways, Gabbard would be a more natural fit for Trump’s State Department than Romney or Giuliani, and she’s a far better fit than someone like Bolton. Trump was consistently hawkish on ISIS during the campaign, but he was just as adamant about putting an end to American military interventionism. Gabbard, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was sharply critical of Hillary Clinton for her “interventionist regime change policy in Syria.”
No matter who Trump chooses, he’s going to leave some portion of the conservative spectrum unhappy. If he picks Giuliani, libertarian Republicans like Rand Paul will fight against it. If he picks Romney, many of his most loyal supporters are going to be outraged. If he picks Gabbard, there’s no telling what kind of Republican earthquake we might see.
In such a situation, you have to just ignore the peanut gallery and use your own best judgement. In many ways, that’s exactly why Trump was elected. In a field of candidates who had all carefully poll-tested their policies, Trump came barreling through, not caring in the least if his proposals were Heritage Foundation-approved. Hopefully, he won’t hesitate to make unpopular choices when he feels they are the right ones.