Politics

Fmr. House Intel Chair Gives Romney 70 Percent Shot at State Post

Rep. Pete Hoekstra says former GOP nominee still a leading contender to be America's top diplomat

Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a likelihood of seven out of 10 to get the nod as President-Elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Hoekstra, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, predicted that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee stands more than a fighting chance of clinching the top job at the State Department, despite reports Trump has moved his focus onto other candidates.

“I put Romney at probably a seven. I think he still has a shot at getting this job.”

Several prominent Republicans and Trump advisers have frowned publicly on the possibility. Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have sharply criticized the possible Romney pick.

“I put Romney at probably a seven. I think he still has a shot at getting this job,” Hoekstra told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham.

Ingraham noted that Romney has been “pretty good” on U.S. policy towards China and Russia, as well as immigration.

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Ingraham added that Romney “kinda looks the part,” before noting it was unfortunate the former GOP nominee said “those things” about Trump during the election.

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Ingraham and Hoekstra noted the special importance for the person assuming the State Department post to have views compatible with Trump on China — particularly in light of the hysterical response to Trump’s acceptance of a “congratulatory” phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week.

When she thinks of Trump’s “more practical, pragmatic approach to China,” Ingraham said that the name of Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China whose name has been floating around, does not immediately pop into her head.

“Jon Huntsman — who’s been a very pro-China engagement, globalism, rules kind of guy — I just don’t see him at all as someone who would take forward the Trump message on foreign policy or diplomatic approach,” Ingraham said.

Hoesktra agreed, noting that the expectation for Trump’s nominee would be for him or her to “swallow your own personal agenda” and fulfill the job “to implement Donald Trump’s agenda.”

“And I would think for some of these folks, based on their previous work, it’d be very, very hard and they might be better off just walking away and saying, ‘You know what? I’m glad Mr. Trump won. But you know, Mr. Trump, I really can’t implement that agenda,'” Hoekstra said. “[Trump] needs loyalty in that position.”

Hoekstra praised the president-elect for sending such a strong message. Noting that China wants to play by its own rules and intimidate others into adhering to those rules, Hoekstra anticipated a “new day” for the United States come Jan. 20.

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“Donald Trump is doing exactly the right thing,” Hoekstra said. “He’s sending a clear signal to the Chinese: ‘There’s a new sheriff in town. You can’t continue hacking millions of Americans’ personal data through cyber attacks. You can’t continue to cheat on trade. You can’t continue to work with North Korea so the people on the West Coast now have to worry about a North Korea with a nuclear … capability to militarize it and put it on a missile and hit the West Coast.’ Donald Trump is just saying, ‘Hey, China — it’s a new day.'”

Saying that Trump is coming into office with the right approach to hold China accountable, Hoekstra pointed to President Obama’s myriad of foreign policy failures.

“The truth for the liberals is hard to admit: Obama’s foreign policy in Asia has been a total failure,” Hoekstra said. “And in 2009, you know, we’ve got to remember what Obama’s fresh start was. This guy in the campaign said, ‘I’m going to change our relationship with the Muslim world — with the Arab world.’ And he did. He embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, which has now given us chaos in the Middle East. Donald Trump embraces a friend and he gets ripped. Barack Obama embraces a deadly threat, and he gets praised.”

“Mr. Trump is saying, ‘No. I will stand by and I will send a clear signal — even before I’m in office — that I’m going to meet the requirements of what the Republican platform said and what I campaigned on,'” Hoekstra added. “”What I’m now doing as president-elect I’m going to do as president. I’m going to stand by Taiwan.'”

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