Donald Trump has yet to settle on his choice for Secretary of State, he said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, pushing back on claims he had already chosen Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.
Last week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told media outlets that he had removed his name from consideration for Secretary of State, fueling speculation that a pick was imminent.
The former mayor told Fox News that while he had notified the Trump transition team of his decision already in late November, they requested he refrain from publicizing the decision for 10 days, further fueling rumors of an upcoming choice for America’s top diplomat.
Ahead of the Sunday broadcast of an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, NBC News reported that the President-elect had chosen Exxon Mobil Corp CEO Rex Tillerson to head the State Department.
In the interview, however, Trump explicitly denied having made a final decision on the matter, saying that a number of candidates, including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker will also contenders for the position.
“I’m getting very close,” said Trump, “I’m getting very, very close.”
“I have someone in mind that I think would be really fabulous. I think we’re gonna have one of the great cabinets ever put together.”
After the airing of the interview, Trump took to Twitter, praising Tillerson while again noting that no decision had yet been made.
“Whether I choose him or not for “State” – Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!”
During the Sunday interview, Trump named both Romney and Corker as candidates on the State Department shortlist.
“I have others also,” said Trump. “Bob Corker is a fantastic guy. Mitt Romney I’ve really gotten to know him and I get along with him really well.”
While the President-elect has yet to finalize his decision, however, GOP lawmakers are already expression concerns about Tillerson.
Florida Senator and 2016 GOP hopeful Marco Rubio hit Tillerson over his ties to Russia, noting he had been awarded the Russian Order of Friendship.
“Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState – MR,” Rubio wrote.
Arizona Senator John McCain said Tillerson’s apparent coziness with the Russian government was “a matter of concern”.