Donald Trump said he expects to announce his choice for secretary of state next week.
On NBC’s “Today” show, Trump said that he has started shortlisting candidates to be the nation’s top diplomat.
The president-elect also confirmed that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains under consideration, Politico reported.
Romney was a fierce critic of Trump during the presidential election. Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” in a speech last March. He said Trump’s foreign policy proposals were “very, very not smart” and labeled his policy ideas “flimsy at best.” In response, Trump called Romney a “loser.”
In addition, Trump said that he is thinking about nominating ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
A report from The Charlotte Observer suggests that the president-elect may nominate Tillerson, who oversees the world’s largest private oil and natural gas company.
On Tuesday morning, Trump met with Tillerson, who has years of experience working with foreign governments over oil and gas contracts. According to the Observer, Tillerson’s company is fully understands shifting tides in international affairs that could impact its bottom line.
Jim Krane, an expert on energy geopolitics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, believes that Tillerson “is a known and respected quantity in oil-producing countries.”
“He’s got foreign business and impressive negotiation skills, but that’s a different matter than conducting foreign policy,” Krane said. “Anything Trump and Exxon do is going to be controversial.”
Krane said Tillerson could help U.S. improve its relations with Russia.
“If Trump really wanted to pursue his campaign goals of bettering U.S. relations with Russia, Tillerson would be someone who could probably carry that out. He’s on pretty good terms with Russia,” Krane said.