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Trump Expands Search for Top Diplomat

  • VOA News

President-elect Donald Trump, center, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, greet Mitt Romney, left, as he arrives at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, New Jersey, Nov. 19, 2016. Romney was among the top candidates already interviewed for secretary of state.

President-elect Donald Trump has widened his search for a secretary of state after high-profile meetings with four top candidates failed to yield a decision last week.

"It is true that he's broadened the search, and the secretary of state is an incredibly important position for any president," Trump aide Kellyanne Conway told reporters at Trump Tower in New York Sunday. She said "a very full slate of meetings" was set to begin Monday to fill the remaining Cabinet positions.

Last week, the Trump team mentioned four men as the top contenders: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton also met with Trump on Friday, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence included Bolton's name in a list of possible secretaries of state Sunday.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 22, 2015. Bolton is now also among candidates being considered by President-elect Donald Trump for secretary of state.
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 22, 2015. Bolton is now also among candidates being considered by President-elect Donald Trump for secretary of state.

Former Utah governor and ex-ambassador to Beijing Jon Huntsman is in the mix, according to CNN, while other news reports said Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is also being considered.

As the list expands, one of the top candidates, Petraeus, appeared on ABC's This Week to express his interest in the job.

Petraeus, who resigned in disgrace as head of the CIA in 2012, said Sunday he's paid for his mistakes and was ready to become Trump's chief diplomat.

"I have acknowledged for a number for years that five years ago I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it, I apologized for it, I have paid a heavy price for it and I have learned from it," he said.

Petraeus pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of giving journals containing state secrets to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell.

FILE - Former CIA Director David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 22, 2015. Earlier in the search he was considered a leading contender to become the Trump administration's top diplomat.
FILE - Former CIA Director David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 22, 2015. Earlier in the search he was considered a leading contender to become the Trump administration's top diplomat.

Vice president-elect Mike Pence praised Petraeus as "an American hero" on NBC's Meet the Press, adding that he "made mistakes and he paid for his mistakes."

Trump "will factor the totality of general Petraeus's career in making this decision," Pence said.

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