Mitt Romney may be falling out of favor for Secretary of State in President-elect Donald Trump's administration, making room for former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and a dark horse candidate, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.).
The Washington Examiner reports that the deep division within the Trump camp over Romney's lack of support for the Trump during the election has lead to scuttlebutt that Rohrabacher may be considered for the top job, with Bolton coming in as his number two as part of a "consensus package."
"This is percolating through the system and Dana the dark horse is emerging from the back of the pack," said one transition source. Another said, "I'm feeling like a surprise might be in order."
The Examiner notes that Trump advisors Steve Bannon and Peter Thiel are involved in the new direction, having spent several hours on the phone with Rohrabacher. They reportedly found that he is in agreement with Trump on his most valued policy positions. The California lawmaker heads a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee and may be headed to Trump Tower next week to meet with the incoming president.
Insiders also say, according to the Examiner, that some on the Trump team favor Bolton for the top job, but that he's likely being considered for the role of chief deputy.
Rohrabacher is an expert on Afghanistan and spent time as a speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan. He also reportedly balked at the idea of serving as number two to Romney as secretary of state because the former Massachusetts governor did not support Trump during the Republican primaries and through the general election.
For his part, Bolton is also a Reagan acolyte and spent time under both Bush administrations in key State Department and diplomatic roles.