By Jonathan Swan - 11-25-16 11:35 AM EST
President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is downplaying the increasingly public feud between the camps supporting Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney for secretary of State.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Trump spokesman Jason Miller dismissed the clash as "palace intrigue." He refused to elaborate on the deliberations concerning the 2012 GOP nominee and the former New York mayor, among others in contention for the position. Miller said a number of people remain under consideration for the top foreign policy role.
The clash between the Romney and Giuliani factions broke into the open in extraordinary fashion Thursday. Trump adviser and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter to air concerns about selecting Romney. She followed with a second tweet that seemed to imply that Romney, a harsh Trump critic during the campaign, would be disloyal.
Giuliani is publicly lobbying for the role, and, at least initially, top Trump allies expected him to be given whatever role he wanted due to his staunch loyalty to Trump through the campaign. But some in the Trump camp are reportedly concerned about the extent of his foreign business entanglements.
The New York Times reported that Giuliani irritated Trump when he joked to a Wall Street Journal forum that he might be a better Secretary of State than John Bolton, a United Nations ambassador under President George W. Bush.
The Times also reported that Marine Gen. John Kelly is being entertained as a potential compromise selection to run Trump's State Department.
Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago Club through Sunday, according to an official on the call. The President-elect will take at least eight meetings Monday, bringing his total conversations with potential administration officials to more than 65.
Trump's Monday meetings include sessions with Sandeep Mathrani, the CEO of General Growth Properties; Paul Atkins, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.); David Steward, chairman and co-founder of World Wide Technology; Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma; John Allison, founder of Unio Holdings; and Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis.
Trump is also meeting Monday with Kathleen White, an energy and environment expert at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. White has been floated as a potential head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Trump administration.
The president-elect intends to announce two staff-level appointments later Friday, according to a transition official on the conference call. No public announcements, either Cabinet level or staff, are expected over the weekend, according to the transition team.