Michigan Republican John James recently visited the White House to meet with top players in the Trump administration as some insiders claim he’s being considered as a replacement for UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
James rose to national prominence after his unsuccessful challenge of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), but came closer to unseating her than most expected. The young, charismatic, Iraq-war veteran is considered by some to be “the future” of the Michigan GOP, and is already being floated as a potential challenger to Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) in 2020.
But now Bloomberg reports that Trump is eyeing James as a possible replacement for Haley, who plans to step down by the end of the year. Anonymous sources said to be familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that James met with Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Vice President Mike Pence last week.
The Detroit News later reported that sources are claiming Trump wants to nominate a candidate without prior ambassador experience for the position, which would include James, who hasn’t held any political office.
If nominated, Stabenow would be put in the uncomfortable position of having to vote on a past opponent, The Detroit News points out. But some Michigan insiders are skeptical that an ambassadorship would help James, including local political science professor David Dulio.
While the position would make James “a major player on the national and international stage,” Dulio noted that it would diminish his “Michigan resume,” and strip the Michigan GOP of a strong candidate for 2020.
Other potential candidates include State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, whom Trump met within the Oval Office earlier this month. But with still a month to go before Haley’s departure, Trump told reporters recently that there’s “plenty of time” to make a decision, which he plans to announce in “the next few weeks.”
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