Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined a parade of conservatives eager to fill out the ranks of the incoming White House administration for a series of interviews with President-Elect Trump and Vice President-Elect Pence at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, NJ, on Saturday.
Also scheduled for Saturday sitdowns were two Secretary of Education hopefuls, StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee and Michigan philanthropist Betsy Duvos; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, a leading contender for Secretary of Defense; fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, a candidate for Labor Secretary; and New Jersey financier Lew Eisenberg who could contend for Commerce Secretary.
On Sunday morning, Trump and Pence will meet with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former Mayor Rudy Giuliani; billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, a candidate for both Treasury Secretary and Secretary of Commerce; Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; and former Treasury under-secretary David McCormick.
Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said the president-elect is meeting with some people who are candidates to be hired by the administration while others are simply offering advice.
A number of candidates who Trump will not be meeting in person this weekend are still in the mix for high-level posts.
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is a leading contender to run the Department of Veteran Affairs, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is being considered for Defense Secretary, and New Jersey developer Giuseppi Forgione has edged ahead of Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino for Housing and Urban Development Secretary, sources said.
Secretary of State has become the most competitive seat in Trump’s cabinet with Romney, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Giuliani, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and former CIA director David Petraeus all in the mix, according to reports.
Former Goldman Sachs banker Seth Mnuchin, who accompanied Trump to New Jersey, is a top candidates for Secretary of Treasury ahead of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
Team Trump is also reviewing resumes for ambassadorships, judgeships, and federal prosecutor posts.
Former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations Richard Grenell has moved ahead of former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the U.S. ambassadorship to the UN, a source said, who is also an outside candidate for defense secretary.
And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who met Trump Friday in Manhattan, is a contender to be named U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Trump’s New York campaign co-chair Carl Paladino has been funneling candidates for federal judgeships and prosecutor jobs to the transition team’s headquarters at Trump Tower, but he thinks Trump should keep one U.S. attorney — Southern District’s Preet Bharara.
“He’s the best thing that’s happened to state of New York,” Paladino said. “He goes out, does his job, and does it so well. I don’t care what his politics are.”