FILE PHOTO: New National Security Adviser John Bolton listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ruled out asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take on a dual role as national security adviser and said he has about 15 candidates for the post last held by John Bolton.
There had been some discussion among White House officials about giving Pompeo the national security job while he remained secretary of state, but Trump told reporters he did not plan to take that step.
Trump said he spoke to Pompeo about the idea and the secretary of state “liked the idea of having somebody in there with him.”
Trump said he now has 15 candidates for the job, a day after saying he had a short list of five. He said he would probably have a decision on who gets the post next week.
“Everybody wants it very badly, as you can imagine,” he said. “A lot of people want the job. It’s a great job.”
Trump’s list of people being considered for the job is largely made up of reliable conservatives with solid ties to key Trump administration stalwarts, according to several sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mike Pence’s national security adviser, retired Army General Keith Kellogg, is part of a group that also includes the State Department’s Iran envoy, Brian Hook, former deputy White House national security adviser Rick Waddell, and U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, among others, the sources said.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Jonathan Oatis