The prospect of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doesn't fill my heart with joy, but we might have had Rudy Giuliani instead, and I can't decide which would be worse. A Washington Post story on the process that led to the selection of Tillerson tells us that Giuliani was the top contender, even after former defense secretary (and paid Exxon consultant) Robert Gates recommended Tillerson to President-elect Trump:
Two days after Trump met with Gates, as Sunday talk show guests speculated about Trump’s choice, those closest to the decision had come up with a scorecard.
Giuliani, the former New York mayor, was in first place, [Mitt] Romney was just behind at “1A,” and [David] Petraeus was “in the mix.” Tillerson remained a contingency, but his stock was starting to rise.
Giuliani had been one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders during the campaign, and his name was pushed particularly hard by Trump allies such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
But Trump became increasingly concerned about the 72-year-old Giuliani’s fitness for the job. Trump confided to friends that he thought that Giuliani, two decades removed from his heyday running New York, was past his prime and might not have the stamina or discipline to travel the globe and negotiate delicate matters.
“He was hearing a lot of concerns about Rudy,” one Trump friend said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Stamina! You'll recall that Trump said Hillary Clinton lacked "stamina" five times in less than a minute in their first debate:
We know it's been a longtime obsession of Trump's:
In his 2009 book “Think Like a Champion,” he called “positive stamina” a “necessary ingredient for success.” His Twitter feed is, accordingly, a constant stamina-evaluation zone: He has rated the vitality not only of Clinton (“zero imagination and even less stamina”) but also of Joan Rivers (“truly amazing stamina”), the world’s “many losers and haters” (“never have the brains or stamina to become truly successful”) and, of course, himself (“one of my greatest assets”).
So is this a reference to anything specific in Giuliani's case? The New York Daily News has a theory:
... the former mayor, who aggressively campaigned for and defended Trump throughout the tumultuous 2016 race, did indeed face a handful of embarrassing incidents over the course of the trail indicating he might have lost a step.
In August, he appeared on ABC's "This Week" program with a giant bump on his forehead as he rambled on about Hillary Clinton's shortcomings.
He didn't address the wound during the interview but later told the Daily News that he had fallen in the shower after getting a cramp in his leg.
A rep for Giuliani later told The News that he'd hurt himself when he "got up in the middle of the night to use facilities and banged into bathroom door."
Here's some video of that appearance:
That's a nasty bump, Rudy. And you got it from ... falling in the shower after getting a leg cramp? Banging into a bathroom door at night? Which was it?
We're told later in the Post story that Giuliani's fall from grace in Trump World was partly the result of his refusal to take a job other than secretary of state -- homeland security secretary, say, or attorney general.
“He got out too far in front of Trump,” [a] Trump associate said. “He became the star. Trump doesn’t like more than one star. . . . When you give an ultimatum that ‘I will only take one position,’ it doesn’t work.”
But ... stamina. That was apparently why he lost the State job. If it weren't for that one slip in the loo, we could have had this guy as America's top diplomat:
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog