President-elect Donald Trump planned to meet with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in New York on Tuesday to discuss key appointments as moderate Republican Mike Rogers was jettisoned from the transition team.
The departure of Rogers, a former congressman who was chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, indicated Trump may be leaning away from some establishment figures as Pence takes over the transition team.
“Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday,” Rogers said in a statement.
Rogers, who worked on the transition team led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for six months, said he would continue to advise Trump. Pence took over the transition leadership from Christie last week.
Trump and Pence will be “reviewing a number of names for key jobs” during the meeting at Trump Tower in New York as lists for the leadership positions begin to narrow, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.
“If the vice president-elect is getting together with the president-elect to discuss names, then I would say that it’s serious, obviously,” he said on Monday.
Trump, a businessman who has never held public office, and the Pence-led transition team are working on picking members of his Cabinet and the heads of federal agencies.
Tuesday’s meeting comes as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump friend and supporter, emerged as a leading candidate to be U.S. secretary of state.
“Well, that’s possible,” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway teased on Fox News on Tuesday, when asked about the Giuliani report.
John Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, was also under consideration for the high-profile job, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday.
Giuliani became one of Trump’s closest advisers during the campaign, functioning as a vocal defender on cable news programs and introducing him at many rallies. Giuliani has also been mentioned as a possible attorney general or homeland security secretary.
Trump’s choice of Republican Party insider Reince Priebus to be White House chief of staff was heralded as an indication he wants to work with members of Congress, where a number of Republicans had opposed his candidacy.
However, Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist was roundly criticized by members of both parties who denounced the former Breitbart News chief as having made the website a forum for the “alt-right,” a confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.
Bannon has been calling Republicans in Congress to build relationships with lawmakers after years of thumbing his nose at establishment figures in the party, according to website Politico.
People who received the calls, which included rank-and-file members as well as leaders, said the main message was that the Trump administration expects a very close relationship with Capitol Hill Republicans, Politico reported.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)