President-elect Donald Trump is considering retired General David Petraeus to be secretary of state and plans to meet with the former CIA director Monday in New York, according to a senior official with the transition.
The celebrated four-star general, who left government under a cloud for sharing classified documents during an extramarital affair, is meeting with the president-elect amid infighting among Trump’s advisers about who to pick for the post. The possibility that Trump might instead tap former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has fueled an extraordinary public lobbying campaign against him.
Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and is now a senior adviser to his transition, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she is “just astonished at the breathtaking volume and intensity of blow-back that I see” toward the possibility of Romney serving as the nation’s top diplomat.“In the last four years, I mean, has he been around the globe doing something on behalf of the U.S. of which we’re unaware? Did he go and intervene in Syria where they’re having a massive humanitarian crisis?” she asked on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Has he been helpful to Mr. Netanyahu?” she asked, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A top transition official said that many in Trump’s camp support having Petraeus fill the position. Trump is “inclined” to pick Petraeus, according to the official, yet he is weighing whether it’s a good idea to have two retired generals heading the State Department and Pentagon. General James Mattis has been under consideration to head the Defense Department.
Since leaving the CIA, Petraeus has been teaching and working as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which analyzes global trends for KKR & Co., the New York-based investment firm. The role took him around the globe to Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He also made frequent presentations to the firm’s existing and potential investors, and he was promoted to a partner of KKR in December 2014. Some stock analysts have saidPetraeus’s unit has become a factor differentiating KKR from its publicly traded peers.