As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tries to decide if he will run for the U.S. Senate back in his home state of Kansas next year, there’s already jockeying within the Trump administration when it comes to who might replace him, according to a report from the Washington Post, and one name that has come up is that of Steve Mnunchin, who currently serves as Secretary of the Treasury:
“Some officials believe Mnuchin is angling for the job, and some say he is simply in contention but not actively lobbying. Either way, he’s on the list. Mnuchin is very close to Trump personally and has been treasury secretary for almost three years.”
But it remains unclear if Mnuchin could gain confirmation in the Senate, especially in an election year:
“He would have a confirmation problem, too, having only narrowly been confirmed for his current job, 53 to 47, amid concerns among Senate Democrats about his overall lack of experience. Also, though Pompeo and Mnuchin are political allies, they disagree on foreign policy.”
If Trump needs a more seasoned person to take Pompeo’s place at the State Department, he would likely turn to his current national security adviser, Robert O’Brien. Trump is said to be fond of O’Brien and has been handed some top diplomatic duties already since he became Trump’s fourth national security adviser in three years time. Most recently O’Brien was part of the American delegation that went to Turkey to negotiate a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war. He was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo.
Pompeo is also a fan of O’Brien, which might give him the leg up if the job at State becomes available:
“(O’Brien) worked for Pompeo as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs before he moved to the White House. O’Brien is known as a competent, polished technocrat who works well with all the various administration factions — which is rare.”
More surprising is the fact that two senators are also on the list of those who might replace Pompeo:
“The other names often mentioned are State Department envoy to Iran Brian Hook, who has a close relationship with Jared Kushner, as well as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Hook is seen as unlikely to ultimately get the nod because he has some detractors among Trump’s allies. Rubio and Cotton both have presidential aspirations, and a stint as secretary of state could only help them.”
Of course, all of this could wind up being moot if Pompeo passes on a Senate run and chooses to remain at Foggy Bottom, even if that means going down with a one-term administration that gets badly beaten in the coming election. Only time will tell.
Featured Image Via the BBC