In weekend of deliberation, Mattis favored for Trump Pentagon chief
BEDMINSTER, N.J: President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday assessed several more contenders for top U.S. posts including Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, as blunt-spoken retired Marine Corps General James Mattis emerged as a leading candidate for defense secretary.
Trump held meetings at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, with candidates for senior administration jobs after he takes office on Jan. 20. On Saturday, he conferred with Mattis and Mitt Romney, formerly a fierce Trump critic now under consideration for secretary of state.
Summing up two days of talks as he said goodbye to retired U.S. Marines Corps General John Kelly on Sunday evening, Trump said: “We really had some great meetings, and you’ll be hearing about them soon.”
Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer said no decisions would be announced on Sunday night.
The last person Trump escorted out of the clubhouse was Giuliani, the former New York mayor. Trump said earlier that Giuliani was a candidate for secretary of state “and other things.”
Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, advised Trump during the presidential campaign but was dismissed as the head of his transition team. Asked by reporters before the meeting whether there was a place for Christie in his administration, Trump sidestepped the question but called him “a very talented man, great guy.”
Trump met with billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who he said was under consideration for commerce secretary. Asked whether he wanted the job, Ross told reporters: “Well, time will tell.”
Trump also received Jonathan Gray, the global head of real estate at the Blackstone Group. Gray, a Democrat, is among several candidates being considered for Treasury secretary, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.
The president-elect has already tapped three senior leaders of his national security and law enforcement teams, choosing U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director, and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security adviser.