The Dreadful Choice: Romney or Giuliani for Secretary of State?
There is a quarrel in the GOP over who should receive the Secretary of State nomination:
Rival factions of Republicans are locked in an increasingly caustic and public battle to influence President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for secretary of state, leaving a prominent hole in an otherwise quickly formed national security team that is unlikely to be filled until next week at the earliest.
The debate inside Mr. Trump’s wide circle of formal and informal advisers — pitting supporters of one leading contender, Mitt Romney, against those of another, Rudolph W. Giuliani — has led to the kind of dramatic airing of differences that characterized Mr. Trump’s unconventional and often squabbling campaign team.
The striking thing about this quarrel is that it has essentially nothing to do with the contenders’ qualifications for the position in question. This is not an argument over whether it would be better to choose an experienced foreign policy hand or to pick a political ally, but rather it is a fight over which unqualified individual with no foreign policy experience to speak of should get the job. The Trump loyalists’ objections to Romney are not based on policy differences, nor are they even questioning Romney’s managerial competence in running a government department, but are focused entirely on Romney’s opposition to Trump during the campaign. Likewise, the argument for Giuliani is not that he is better-prepared to be Secretary of State, but simply that he was on board with Trump early on and served as a loyal surrogate.
Lost in all of this is that neither of them is remotely qualified to do the job, and choosing either would represent the elevation of someone with dangerous foreign policy judgment. One is reflexively hawkish, and the other is absurdly belligerent. One tends to be more fixated on provoking Russia, while the other is in league with a deranged cult and obsesses over the threat from Iran. Both are remarkably ignorant about foreign policy issues, and neither one has any business heading the department responsible for our relations with the rest of the world, but it seems that we’re going to end up with one or the other. Republicans may prefer one or the other based on their views of Trump, and some rightly prefer neither, but whichever one wins this contest our foreign policy and our interests will be the losers.