Trump Already Has A Running List Of Who Could Potentially Replace Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to President Trump during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during a cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 18, 2018. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
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December 27, 2019 10:59 a.m.

Although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denies that he is running for Senate next year, that hasn’t stopped competition within the Trump administration over who would replace him as the nation’s top diplomat.

According to a Washington Post report Thursday, given the mixed signals Pompeo has displayed regarding a potential Kansas Senate run — such as his multiple visits to his home state this year and an appearance with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center earlier this month — several officials within the Trump administration have begun to position themselves as potential replacements.

Three sources told Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin that Trump has been discussing names for Pompeo’s successor with lawmakers and officials.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien reportedly appears to be at the top of the Trump’s list as a potential replacement for Pompeo, and the President has given him more diplomatic responsibilities, according to the Post. Pompeo is also a fan of O’Brien, who, prior to becoming national security adviser, worked for Pompeo as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also being considered as a contender for the job. The Post reported that some officials believe Mnuchin is gunning to replace Pompeo while others say that he’s simply in consideration.

According to the Post, Trump has also asked people about their thoughts on Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell becoming secretary of state.

No matter what happens, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun is set to step in as acting secretary of state if Pompeo departs and may stay in the role until after the election, depending on when Pompeo steps down. The Post reported that Biegun is also on Trump’s list, though he is not seeking to take over the job officially.

Other names that have been mentioned are State Department envoy to Iran Brian Hook, who has a close relationship with Jared Kushner, as well as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR).

Read The Washington Post’s report here.

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