President-elect Donald Trump fought off media reports of an angst-ridden transition process Wednesday, saying the shift from campaigner to leader was progressing in orderly fashion, and that his picks for key cabinet spots were both shaping and solidifying.
He issued the statement in a tweet, in response to a media world that was filled with stories of supposed disarray on the transition trail. Various news outlets said some members of Trump’s team have been forced out, others have been replaced, and several of those remaining have engaged in fiery disputes.
Trump’s Twitter comment?
“Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions,” he wrote, following a dinner with family at a New York City restaurant. “I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”
He also wrote, in direct response to a harsh story from the New York Times about the supposed chaotic transition process: “The failing @nytimes story is so totally wrong on transition. It is going so smoothly. Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders.”
Among the most recent talked about candidates for the Trump cabinet are Sen. Ted Cruz for Attorney General; Wall Street insider Steve Mnuchin as secretary of Treasury; and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for Commerce secretary. Those last two picks were confirmed by investor Carl Icahn, who’s known Trump for years.
The news of Cruz, meanwhile, first broke in Bloomberg Politics, which cited an anonymous source with supposed knowledge of the closed-door discussion between Trump and the Texas senator at Trump Tower on Tuesday. Others mulled for attorney general include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Previous reports have indicated New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton were both in the running for secretary of State. Bolton, however, has at least one foe in the Senate, where he needs confirmation. As CNN reported, Sen. Rand Paul said he would not vote to confirm Bolton unless the former ambassador renounced his past support for the bombing of Iran and the U.S. involvement in the Iraq war.
Also on the list for secretary of State are Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House; and Stanley McChrystal, former senior military commander in Afghanistan.
For Defense, Trump’s reportedly eyeing Kelly Ayotte, a departing senator who served on the Armed Services Committee; Sens. Tom Cotton and Jeff Sessions; and Michael Flynn, retired Army lieutenant general.
Among the candidates for Agriculture: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Among those for Interior: Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
And among those for Homeland Security: Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and David Clarke, Milwaukee County sheriff.
Trump’s already filled the chief of staff slot with Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus, as well as the chief strategist position, with Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon. Neither Priebus nor Bannon have to receive Senate confirmation to assume their posts.
Meanwhile, those on the “no, thank you” list for a Trump administration slot include Ben Carson, who explained through his business manager, Armstrong Williams: “His life has not prepared him to be a cabinet secretary.”