The Cable

At This Point, Who Hasn’t Been Considered for Secretary of State?

Here are some people who probably will not be secretary of state.


Depending on which report you believe, the next U.S. secretary of state could be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Amb. John Bolton, Council on Foreign Relations chief Richard Haass, Sen. Bob Corker, Gov. Nikki Haley, Gen. David Petraeus, or Gov. Mitt Romney.

While these names are floated up through the media like balloons containing the names of potentially incredibly powerful people, let us look at some people with whom President-elect Donald Trump has met but who, to the best of our knowledge, have not yet been considered for Secretary of State:

Henry Kissinger – Trump and the former national security advisor/secretary of state and current author/suit donner met Thursday to discuss, among other things, “China, Russia, Iran, the EU, and other events and issues around the world.” In a statement on the meeting, Trump said, “I have tremendous respect for Dr. Kissinger and appreciate him sharing his thoughts with me.” But he is still probably not going to make him secretary of state — because he has already been secretary of state, and also because he is 93.

Odds that he will be made secretary of state: 93 to 1.

Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law is reportedly the power behind the transition team throne and considering a job at the White House. But he will probably not be made secretary of state. Relatedly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom Kushner apparently had axed as transition team head, is probably also not going to be secretary of state.

Odds: 50 to 1 and 100 to 1, respectively.

Any of the 32 foreign leaders to whom Trump has spoken – On a call with reporters Thursday morning, transition team spokespeople said that, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Trump later in the evening, he will be the 32nd world leader with whom the president-elect has communicated. (Perhaps they did this because Trump has taken to tweeting that he has indeed spoken to world leaders.) They also assured reporters that precautions are being taken to secure these calls, which are being conducted out of Trump Tower. Nevertheless, none of these world leaders is likely to become secretary of state. Same goes for Nigel Farage.

Odds: 32 times one million Japanese yen to 1 plus Nigel Farage.

Ken Blackwell – The former mayor and right wing activist is reportedly leading Trump’s domestic transition team. As the secretary of state is a foreign-focused position, this means that he will probably not be considered.

Odds: 70 to 1.

Mike Huckabee – He probably won’t be the next secretary of state. However, the former governor of Arkansas was floated as ambassador to Israel shortly after blaming anti-Semitic vandalism on Jews, so, really, who knows.

Odds: 7 to 1.

Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering ambassadorial and diplomatic affairs in Washington. @emilyctamkin

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