While the political world runs wild with speculation concerning President-elect Trump’s impending choice for secretary of state, a war hero and former Republican congressman beloved by conservatives emerged from a meeting with Trump’s inner circle Monday.
It was retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West who emerged from the meeting at Trump Tower.
West, a highly decorated officer, had met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, retired Gen. Mike Flynn (Trump’s choice for national security adviser) and Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland (selected for deputy national security adviser).
“We talked about some national security issues, and you know how maybe I can continue to serve my country,” West said, according to a transition pool report.
West told reporters that the Trump team hasn’t offered him a particular position at this time.
“I mean they know my reputation very well,” West said. “I’m just a simple soldier.”
“He can choose whoever he wants for secretary of state,” he said, adding that he’s considering how to “best serve this country and through this administration.”
As WND reported, West had seriously contemplated running for president this year.
“I’m praying on whether to run for president, and I have discussed the possibility with my wife and family,” he told WND at a 2014 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
He told the crowd, if Republicans want to win elections, they must establish an emotional connection based on conservative principles that will resonate with all Americans, including minorities in the inner cities that Democrats typically consider their voters by default.
“I have a message for Washington: You don’t compromise your principles,” he said. “Today we stand on an ideological battlefield where we look across and we see the Democrats. We see the left. We see the progressive socialists. We see the secular humanists. We see radical Islam. But are we going to run away? Will we not stand at this moment of time to fight for what is so sacred to us as American people? And that is our freedom. …”
Two years before the election, West said Americans were ready to unite behind a fighter who will go to battle for their freedoms.
“Having been on battlefields, I know we as Republicans have the courage to press forward to secure the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans,” he said. “The American people are waiting for someone to come on the battlefield and say, ‘Rally Around Me!”
West previously served in the U.S. House as a representative of Florida’s 22nd congressional district from 2011 to 2013. He completed tours of Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003.
As WND reported, West once faced criminal charges for using shock interrogation tactics to protect his soldiers in Iraq. The controversial ordeal led to a court-martial amid support from congressmen and many Americans who regarded him as a hero.
“If you’re a bad guy and you try to get between me and the safety and lives of American citizens, you’re going to lose,” he told WND.
West had been threatened with court martial for tactics he used to flush out information from an uncooperative Iraqi policeman. Threatening to kill the Iraqi if he didn’t talk, West fired a pistol near the policeman’s head, producing an immediate flood of information that purportedly led to the arrest of two insurgents and cessation of attacks on West’s 4th Infantry Division battalion.
But prosecutors charged West with aggravated assault, and he faced up the possibility of up to eight years in prison. At a hearing, he was asked by his defense attorney if he would do it again.
“If it’s about the lives of my men and their safety, I’d go through hell in a gasoline can,” West replied.
West eventually accepted non-judicial punishment, the forfeiture of two month’s pay, about $5,000. He retired from the military. In 2010, he was elected to his first term in Congress and was bolstered by tea-party support. In 2012, he lost his House seat to Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.
As WND recently reported, Trump is said to be considering several candidates for secretary of state, including the following:
- Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton
- Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
- Retired Marine John F. Kelly
- Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad
- Former Army Gen. and CIA Director David Petraeus
- Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman
- Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson
- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.
- Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
It’s also possible the Trump team is considering West for director of national intelligence or secretary of veterans affairs, as the president-elect has yet to fill those positions.
On Monday came news that Trump will meet with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, commentator Laura Ingraham and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., this week. Ingraham is rumored to be a leading contender for press secretary. Mulvaney has indicated he’d like to run the Office of Management and Budget.