WASHINGTON: US President Trump is searching for his next Secretary of State, indicating that America’s top diplomat Mike Pompeo will run for the Senate next year, according to an article in the Washington Post.
The opinion piece published in the newspaper doesn’t confirm any new information from anyone in the Trump Administration. Rumors that Pompeo could step down have been circulating for months.
The article lists several potential replacements as Secretary of State, including National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnucchin, and even State Department envoy to Iran Brian Hook.
The person most often mentioned to succeed Pompeo is O’Brien. Trump has given him increased diplomatic responsibilities since he became the president’s fourth national security adviser in September.
O’Brien accompanied US Vice President Pence and Pompeo to Turkey to negotiate ending Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria.
Many national security officials are concerned that Mnuchin’s dovish position on China and his Wall Street focus could undermine his fitness to lead US diplomacy. He has consistently resisted the more hawkish China strategy supported by Pompeo, Pence, O’Brien and most of the administration.
Pompeo has sent mixed signals about his intentions, and those close to him say he hasn’t made a final decision yet. Pompeo is also considering to run for US president in 2024.
The speculations have led to a competition within the administration over who might replace him as the nation’s top diplomat. Trump has fueled the fire by requesting opinions from lawmakers and officials as he considers his options.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has urged Pompeo to run for the Kansas Senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator Pat Roberts in 2020.
The former Republican lawmaker from Kansas gave up his House of Representatives seat in 2017 after Trump nominated him to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Trump then appointed him as Secretary of State in March 2018.