President-elect Donald Trump on Friday named Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as the next attorney general, Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo as the next head of the CIA and former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.
All three appointees have been fierce critics of President Barack Obama’s handling of terrorism and international relations, and especially his nuclear deal with Iran and his handling of the Islamic State (ISIS).
Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressman Mike Pompeo require Senate confirmation before assuming their roles; Michael Flynn does not.
Flynn, who has called Islam a “political ideology” that “hides behind being a religion,” will have frequent access to Trump as he makes national security decisions. Trump said in a statement Friday that Flynn would be “by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, navigate geopolitical challenges and keep Americans safe at home and abroad.”
Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump, rallying behind his immigration policies. On Friday, Trump called Sessions “a world-class legal mind.”
Pompeo is a Republican and a tough critic of Obama’s nuclear deal. A three-term congressman, he graduated from the Military Academy at West Point and from Harvard Law School.
Pompeo has said that Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks if they do not denounce violence conducted in the name of Islam. “They must cite the Quran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted,” he said in a 2013 House floor speech.
Trump called Pompeo “an unrelenting leader for our intelligence community to ensure the safety of Americans and our allies.”
Trump did not make public appearances this week, but met on Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since winning the election.
He also consulted with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Russia and China and with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a potential contender to lead the State Department.
Trump also met with Mitt Romney, another candidate for secretary of state. During the elections, the two expressed mutual animosity when Romney lambasted Trump as a “con man” and a “fraud” in a stinging speech in March. Trump responded by repeatedly referring to Romney as a “loser.” The two began mending fences after Trump’s victory when Romney called with congratulations.
Since his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton last week, Trump has spoken with Russian president Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and nearly three dozen other world leaders by phone.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, also visited Trump Tower and called Trump “a true friend of Israel.” He specifically cited as another “friend” Steve Bannon, Trump’s top White House adviser. Dermer has yet to to be invited to Obama’s White House.
Jerusalem officials are reportedly pleased with Trump’s appointments. The officials noted that both individuals opposed the nuclear deal with Iran and support Israel. A diplomatic source also noted that the first foreign diplomat Trump met with after the elections, was Dermer.
By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report