As speculation continues regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s much-anticipated choice of Secretary of State, regardless of who he picks, says attorney Marc Zell, the next Secretary of State will have to ‘clean house’ in order to implement Trump’s policies.
Zell, Chairman of the Republican Party in Israel, spoke with Arutz Sheva on Thursday regarding the US State Department and the importance of Trump’s choice for top diplomat in fulfilling his campaign promises vis-à-vis Israel.
“Currently there are three [likely] candidates for the position,” said Zell, “Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John Bolton.”
“Most of the attention has been directed towards Romney, who lost in the 2012 presidential election. He's an unlikely candidate, given the fact that he attacked Trump throughout this year’s election.”
Romney, associated with the GOP’s establishment wing, would have difficulty fundamentally changing the culture within the State Department and letting go of veteran bureaucrats, a step Zell says will be essential for fulfilling Trump’s stated policy goals.
“[Trump] needs a Secretary of State who can clean house in the Department in Washington, which is currently filled with Arab supporters. In order to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, you need to neutralize these people – which means firing them. Only people like Giuliani and Bolton are able to do that.”
Zell noted that despite a 1995 law requiring the relocation of the embassy to Israel’s capital, State Department bureaucrats have prevented its implementation.
“According to a law passed in 1995, the president is obligated to move the embassy to Jerusalem, unless he invokes the [security] clause,” which permits the president to delay the transfer for immediate safety concerns.
“At present, there are officials in the State Department who are working to undermine this [move]. In Washington there are some 4,000 political appointments that need to be filled, including in the State Department, and the president has the right to fire them [those remaining from the past administration].”
Responding to reports President Obama may be considering a last-ditch effort to force a final status agreement on Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Zell expressed his concerns after out-going Secretary of State John Kerry alluded to the possibility on Wednesday.
“Secretary of State John Kerry hinted yesterday that it was not too late for the two-state solution. He hinted at this because he has something up his sleeve; we’re just hoping that nothing substantive is done in the final days of the Obama administration.”
“Jimmy Carter called on Obama to do something, but I hope that Obama understands that it is not appropriate or in keeping with the tradition of transitions of power in America [to make a major policy move], especially just weeks before the inauguration of the next president.”