The next batch of nominations will be formally announced Monday or Tuesday, and those can be expected to include secretary of state, treasury secretary and commerce secretary. The leading candidate for secretary of state remains Rudy Giuliani, and Steven Mnuchin is the top candidate for treasury secretary.
For commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross is far and away the leading candidate. An ally during Trump’s election campaign, the 78-year-old mild-spoken Ross is known for rescuing the types of old-fashioned industrial businesses that Trump has vowed to revive: steel, mining and textiles.
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Ross is chairman of WL Ross & Co., an investment firm that specializes in corporate restructuring. As commerce secretary, Ross would serve as the country’s chief business promoter and overseer of trade and investment issues, in addition to running the Census Bureau and Patent and Trademark Office.
- The billionaire who may run the Commerce Department
Ross will meet with Mr. Trump this weekend at Bedminster to finalize the deal. He wants the job and the president-elect, by all accounts, is eager to give it to him.
As for Giuliani, the Trump transition has sought assurances, which I am told have been given, from Senate GOP leaders that he can be confirmed. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is prepared support Giuliani — this was discussed when Mr. Trump met earlier this week with Kissinger. The transition team has also reached out to another former secretary of state, Gen. Colin Powell (ret.), and I am told he is generally supportive of the former New York City mayor.
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Mnuchin has been the clear front runner to head Treasury, but JP Morgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon was, for a brief period last weekend, a very real contender. Mr. Trump thought that Dimon’s star status in the financial world could be an asset, but campaign officials argued persuasively to Trump he needed a close friend and confidant to speak on his behalf in all negotiations with Congress over his economic agenda and policies. They argued successfully that Dimon could not carry the voice of Trump the way Mnuchin would.
CBS News’ Aimee Picchi contributed to this report.
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