Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton both floated as secretary of state under Trump admin

Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton both floated as secretary of state under Trump admin
Source: AP
Source: AP

Republican President-elect Donald Trump's transition team floated two candidates for the post of secretary of state in a future Trump administration on Monday: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and diplomat John Bolton.

While some media reports named Bolton as the favored candidate earlier in the day, by the evening, others named Giuliani as the presumptive favorite.

Bolton is best known as a consistent hawk who despises the United Nations and former government officials told the New York Times is known for bullying subordinates. He opposed the Barack Obama administration's nuclear armament prevention deal with Iran, writing an op-ed in the Times titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran," and is an advocate of regime change in Syria.

Former President George W. Bush issued a recess appointment of Bolton in 2004 as ambassador to the U.N., despite Bolton's opposition to that body. But the diplomat withdrew from Senate consideration for a formal appointment in 2006 under heavy criticism.

Bolton's appointment as a senior member of the Trump administration would suggest the real estate mogul is embracing the Republican Party's neoconservative bent, despite Trump campaigning on a platform of having opposed the Iraq War (which he did not)  and military restraint relative to prior administrations, undermined somewhat by his calls to bomb terrorists' families.

It's less clear what a Giuliani appointment would mean, although like Bolton, the former mayor was an aggressive promoter of the war in Iraq, even when public sentiment was turning against it.

Giuliani has no international diplomatic experience, outside of welcoming foreign dignitaries to the city of New York, and has primarily distinguished himself this campaign season by launching ill-founded attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's health, intelligence and status as the "founder of ISIS."

At a campaign rally in August, Giuliani trolled Trump's opponents by wearing a hat labeled "Make Mexico Great Again Also," a nod to the campaign's signature slogan and a jab at Mexicans opposed to the candidate's rhetoric about their country.

Giuliani's primary experience aside from the mayoralty has been as a prosecutor, both as an associate U.S. attorney general and district attorney in New York. As mayor, he was associated with tough-on-crime policies (most famously "stop and frisk," which a federal court ruled unconstitutional in 2013) and according to the Washington Post's Radley Balko, "prosecutorial excess" and a vindictive campaign of intimidation against local political opponents.

According to the Wall Street Journal, transition team insiders say President-elect Trump's final decision could take weeks.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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