It is now being rumored that president-elect Trump is considering Jon Huntsman for Secretary of State. This rumor strikes me as more shocking than the rumor — now more than that — Trump was considering his nemesis Mitt Romney for that job. In other words, the Huntsman rumor is probably rooted in fact.
The incongruity of a Huntsman selection is based on more than just the former Utah governor’s harsh criticism of candidate Trump, including calls for Trump to withdraw from the race after the “sex-tape” came out in October of this year. There are also substantive concerns, or at least you’d think there would be.
Here is what Trump had to say about Huntsman after one of the 2012 presidential debates in which Huntsman showed off his skill as a speaker of Mandarin and argued for a conciliatory policy towards China:
I didn’t think the Mandarin thing worked at all. I thought it was ridiculous. And frankly, I think Huntsman’s stance toward China is — it’s almost like he’s an Obama plant.
Trump has promised to reorient U.S. policy towards China. As I suggested here, he will need sound advice as he undertakes this task.
Huntsman knows China. But, as Trump recognized in 2012, he doesn’t seem like the right guy to help reorient our China policy in the direction Trump has said he favors.