By Jackson Richman
Representative Steve King (R-IA) said on Tuesday that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton was his “first choice for Secretary of State” last year.
Bolton was reportedly a top candidate for the position before President Donald Trump chose former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Last November, it was reported that the Trump administration may replace Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo, who in turn, would be replaced by Arkansas senator Tom Cotton.
The New York Times then reported:
Mr. Tillerson’s departure has been widely anticipated for months, but associates have said he was intent on finishing out the year to retain whatever dignity he could. Even so, an end-of-year exit would make his time in office the shortest of any secretary of state whose tenure did not end around a change in presidents in nearly 120 years.
While some administration officials initially expected him to be replaced by Ms. Haley, Mr. Pompeo has become the favorite. A former three-term member of the House, he has impressed Mr. Trump during daily intelligence briefings and become a trusted policy adviser on issues far beyond the C.I.A.’s mandate, like health care. But he has been criticized by intelligence officers for being too political in his job.
Mr. Cotton has been perhaps Mr. Trump’s most important supporter in the Senate on national security and immigration and a valued outside adviser. Officials cautioned that there was still a debate about whether Mr. Cotton was more valuable to the president in the Senate than in taking over the spy agency in Langley, Va.
However, Tillerson attempted to erase any speculation last Saturday that he would not remain in Foggy Bottom by the end of 2018.
“I intend to be here for the whole year,” Tillerson said.
In response the network’s global affairs correspondent Elise Labott asked him, “Has the president given you any indication that you won’t be around for a while?”
“None,” Tillerson replied.