Two former Michigan congressmen and chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee could play a role in a new Trump administration, including retired Rep. Mike Rogers, who is heading up national security planning for the presidential transition.
Another possible pick is former Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, who said this week he is open to working in the administration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump. Hoekstra played a leading role in helping the New York businessman win Michigan as a co-chair of Trump’s state campaign.
Rogers, 53, a Howell Republican and former FBI special agent, was unavailable for comment. He has not publicly confirmed his role in Trump’s transition, which has been reported by the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township.
Andy Keiser, an aide to Rogers, declined to comment Thursday “on all transition-related issues.”
But Rogers is considered a leading voice in the areas of national security, intelligence and counter-terrorism since leaving office at the end of 2014 after seven terms in Congress.
“I hope President-elect Trump will seriously consider Mike Rogers” for a high-level position, said Miller, vice chair of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee. “He has a lot of value to offer the country.”
Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman, said Thursday that Rogers is uniquely qualified to play “a major role” in helping Trump fight international terrorism.
“Few if any from Michigan will have the political clout Rogers has with the Trump administration,” Anuzis said Thursday. “Expect Mike Rogers to play a significant role on the world stage.”
Rogers served in Congress from 2001 to 2015 and has since hosted “Something to Talk About,” a 60-second segment syndicated on radio stations across the country. He is also a regular commentator on national security issues for CNN.
He sits on the board of directors of IronNet Cybersecurity and the board of advisers for Next Century Corp., a technology company. He also serves on the Cybersecurity Industry Advisory Council for Trident Capital, is a fellow at the Hudson Institute and a trustee for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.
During the primary election, Rogers promoted “strong” American foreign policy and helped organize forums on national security with presidential candidates in battleground states. Trump did not participate in the forums hosted by Rogers’ group, Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security. Keiser is president of APPS.
Hoekstra interested in role
Hoekstra, meanwhile, got involved in Trump’s campaign in mid-August after Trump tapped him to be part of a committee of advisers on national security, terrorism and foreign policy.
“If we believe there’s an opportunity for me to serve in a Trump administration, I would consider it,” Hoekstra said this week.
The 63-year-old Republican spent 18 years in Congress but retired to make an unsuccessful run for Republican nomination for governor in 2010. Two years later, he mounted a losing bid for the U.S. Senate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.
Since then, Hoekstra has been lobbying and working as a senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a policy think tank in Washington, D.C. Hoekstra’s lobbying clients include energy corporations, several helicopter companies, IHS Inc. and the tobacco company ITC Brands LLC.
Hoekstra said he’s spoken with Trump aides who began the groundwork for a transition long before the New York businessman’s upset victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Rogers publicly endorsed Trump in July at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. “Donald Trump wasn’t my guy ... but our party spoke out and spoke out loudly that we are a little bit tired of the way things have been working,” Rogers told the Michigan delegation on the convention’s final day.
Trump will be sworn into office as the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20. Over the next 10 weeks, Trump and his advisers will work to organize and plan their new administration.
Sorting through appointments
David Eagles, director of the Center for Presidential Transition, said the process will require 4,000 political appointments, including 1,100 that need Senate confirmation.
In Washington last month, Eagles said both Trump and Clinton established active transition teams earlier than previous candidates did. He said both teams were well-organized and planning for their first 100 and 200 days in office, as well as cataloging the hundreds of promises made while campaigning.
John Rakolta Jr., CEO of the Detroit-based Walbridge construction company, was one of Trump’s top fundraisers in Michigan and attended his election night party in New York City.
Rakolta said the Trump team’s transition planning was not as robust as Clinton’s inner circle of advisers, which included former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
“They were certain they were going to win,” Rakolta said of the Clinton campaign. “In the case of Donald Trump, all the people that I know were working on him winning.”
It’s unclear who else from Michigan could be up for a top Trump administration appointment.
Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson has been mentioned as a potential cabinet appointee to head the Department of Health & Human Services or the Department of Education.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has been a top surrogate for the Trump campaign and most recently stumped for Trump in Michigan on Oct. 29.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said he would expect Trump’s transition team to look first to Trump loyalists who helped deliver him to the White House, and Hoekstra and Carson both fit that bill.
“It will be interesting to see how the Trump transition and administration handles all those folks that were there for him,” said Huizenga, who was the first and only sitting congressman to appear on stage at a Trump rally in Michigan. “And how do they handle all those that weren’t?”
Huizenga, who initially backed Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for president, said he has not received a call from the Trump transition team but would consider it if tapped for an administration post.
“I have not given much thought to that one,” Huizenga said.
Trump’s victory over Clinton likely blocked a future employment opportunity for Granholm.
Granholm’s desire to serve in a previous Democratic administration became public during the campaign when WikiLeaks published hacked emails that included one from Granholm in 2008 to the chair of President Barack Obama’s transition team asking to be considered for energy secretary.
Granholm’s name has been mentioned by Democratic Party insiders as a possible candidate to chair the Democratic National Committee.