NYT: Trump Team Divided Over Romney, Giuliani For Secretary Of State

President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as Mitt Romney leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Esme Cribb contributed reporting.

Donald Trump’s advisers are divided over the President-elect’s two top choices for secretary of state, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and former New York Major Rudy Giuliani (R), with those opposed to Romney taking their concerns public, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, Trump’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, published tweets warning that Trump’s avid supporters were disappointed by the possibility that Romney could serve in Trump’s cabinet.

Asked to elaborate on her tweets about Romney, Conway told the New York Times that Trump’s grassroots supporters who are upset about Romney are “not against something he said, but something he may do.”

Other Trump supporters like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), and Fox pundit Sean Hannity have also publicly warned against nominating Romney to serve as the nation’s top diplomat. Huckabee said on Wednesday that choosing Romney, who was the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, would be an “insult” to Trump’s supporters. Gingrich said Tuesday that Romney’s views may not be in line with Trump’s vision for foreign policy.

Trump has told aides that Romney “looks the part,” a senior Trump official told the New York Times. But Trump has also praised Giuliani, the Times reported.

Advisers concerned about the possibility of nominating Giuliani worry about his foreign business ties, according to the Times.

In a Thursday email, Trump spokesman Jason Miller told the New York Times, “The president-elect is meeting with a number of well-qualified potential selections for this important position who share his America First foreign policy — some of whom have been made public and others who have not — and the president-elect will make public his decision when he has finalized it.”

In a call with reporters on Friday, Miller said that “a lot of the palace intrigue gets a little bit overblown at this stage of the process” and that Trump is “meeting with a number of well-qualified selections for this important position.”

With advisers locked in an intense debate over Romney and Giuliani, a third contender for secretary of state has surfaced. Trump’s team is also considering Gen. John F. Kelly, former head of the United States Southern Command, for the role, the Times reported.

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