WASHINGTON - Americans are awaiting more Cabinet picks from President-elect Donald Trump. The pace of announcements slowed over the Thanksgiving holiday, but is expected to pick up again this week.
No Trump selection is generating more intrigue than secretary of state. In the running to be nominated as America’s top diplomat is a stalwart Trump loyalist, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“I would never discuss politics and what he (Trump) selects and doesn’t select on Thanksgiving, and I’d probably never discuss it at all,” Giuliani told reporters late last week.
But Trump also is considering one of his fiercest critics from during the campaign, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
“Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities: the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd 3rd grade theatrics,” Romney said in a scathing speech denouncing Trump during the Republican primary season.
Some closest to Trump are loudly and publicly making clear their discomfort with Romney.
“This is Donald Trump’s party now, and he won states that Mitt Romney lost. I mean, he won Michigan; Mitt Romney lost it by 10 (percent),” Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said on ABC’s This Week program. “I only wish Governor Romney were as critical of Hillary Clinton.”
‘We have a mandate for change’
One of Trump's former rivals said he is reassured by the team the president-elect is assembling so far.
“I’m encouraged by the team that is coming together, by where their focus is,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said on This Week. “I’m encouraged by their plan for the first 100 days to act aggressively, lifting the burden on small businesses and job creators. That’s what the president should be doing.”
Cruz added that Republicans must not be timid in pushing their agenda after Inauguration Day.
“We have a mandate for change. Republicans have been given the opportunity – we’ve been given control of the White House, every executive branch, and both houses of Congress. We can’t blow it. We have got to deliver,” he said.
Progressives, meanwhile, are urging Trump to stand firm in areas in which, during the campaign, he said he disagrees with Republican Party orthodoxy, such as preserving America’s safety net for the elderly and the poor.
“Trump said when he was running for president, ‘I am the only Republican who will not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,’” said Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “Well, you’ve got some people in the Republican Party right now who want to voucherize Medicare, make massive cuts in Medicaid. Will he keep his word?”
While Trump is expected to complete his Cabinet picks in coming weeks, hundreds of lower level nominations will be made after he is sworn in on January 20.