Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is top choice for secretary of state in Trump administration: Source

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington.
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has emerged as a leading candidate to be Republican President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state, a source familiar with the situation said.

The source said Mr John Bolton, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, was also under consideration to head the State Department.

Mr Giuliani, 72, was one of Mr Trump’s most vocal and high-profile supporters on the campaign trail, introducing him frequently at rallies with slashing attacks against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

He was New York’s mayor during the Sept 11, 2001, attacks and led the city during the crisis after the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers, working closely with then-President George W. Bush.

Mr Giuliani was an early supporter of Mr Trump, has been his friend for many years, and defended him vigorously through the various controversies that ensnared the New York businessman.

His rhetoric was notable for repeatedly accusing Mrs Clinton of having violated laws through her handling of classified information on a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

“If Rudy wants it, he’ll get it,” former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich told “The Kelly File” on Fox News.

Mr Gingrich, who has also been mentioned as possibly having a role in the Trump administration, said he thought Mr Giuliani might have been interested in being nominated instead as the US attorney general or secretary of homeland security.

However, he said Mr Giuliani would do a fabulous job as Mr Trump’s secretary of state. “He’s already known worldwide,” Mr Gingrich said.

Mr Bolton, 67, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, was UN ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006 during the Bush administration.

Before that he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security. He has frequently provided foreign policy advice to Republican presidential candidates.

Mr Trump is working on choosing the people he wants to place in his Cabinet for when he takes over the presidency on Jan 20.

In a sign that Mr Trump might be getting closer to some decisions, his spokesman Jason Miller said Trump would meet Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, who is in charge of Mr Trump’s transition effort, at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.

Mr Miller said Mr Trump and Mr Pence would be “reviewing a number of names for key jobs”.

“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.

US Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a possible pick for defence secretary, was seen entering Trump Tower on Monday.