Wrangling for Trump Cabinet posts goes public

Julie Pace
Associated Press

Washington — Want a top job in Washington? Saying less is usually the way to get more.

But contenders — and wannabe contenders — for spots in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration are upending that tradition.

They’re touting their qualifications in public appearances and chatting openly about their interactions with Trump’s team. They’re handicapping their rivals. Some of those who appear to be under the most serious consideration are conspicuously strolling by the pack of journalists gathered in the Trump Tower lobby on their way to meetings with the president-elect and his team.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani set the tone. After declaring that he wouldn’t serve as attorney general, Giuliani was asked whether there were better choices for secretary of state than some of names being bandied about.

“Maybe me,” Giuliani said with a grin.

Shortly after, a senior Trump official confirmed Giuliani was indeed under consideration to become the nation’s top diplomat.

So, too, is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker — at least according to the senator.

“I know my name is in the mix,” Corker said, adding that he nevertheless expected the State Department post would go to someone more deeply involved with the Republican’s presidential campaign.

In some ways, the more free-flowing discussion is a refreshing shift from the usual Washington parlor game, where job candidates publicly dismiss their chances with faux modesty, then use emissaries to ensure their name stays in the conversation.

Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign, suggested the president-elect finds the public wrangling counterproductive.

“These conversations are always best in private, particularly when you’re forming a Cabinet and a senior staff,” Conway said Thursday on MSNBC.