WASHINGTON – President-elect Donald Trump is considering adding North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to his Cabinet, and will meet with her on Friday in New York.
So far, the incoming chief executive has picked all Republicans to head federal departments and agencies. Presidents of both parties have in the past tried to get at least one secretary from the other party into a first-term Cabinet.
Trump and his team view Heitkamp as being “an asset in any role or capacity,” should she make the cut, an aide told reporters Thursday morning. She “comes very highly recommended and [is] qualified,” the aide added.
Heitkamp, in a statement, didn’t rule out a Cabinet post.
“Whatever job I do, I hope to work with the president-elect and all of my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to best support my state,” she said. “Every single day, my work is motivated first and foremost by how I can be most helpful to the people of North Dakota.”
The Trump transition office declined to specify which job she might be in the running to get. But her legislative priorities suggest the Agriculture or Energy departments could be a good fit.
In the Senate, she backed rolling back the decades-old prohibition on exporting crude oil, arguing exports will bring long-term economic prosperity and bring much-needed revenue to state and local governments.
Heitkamp, who is up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump carried with 63 percent of the vote, supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But, notably, she was absent when 12 other female Democratic senators appeared on stage at their party’s national convention in July to show support for Clinton.
She won’t be the only sitting senator to meet with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue also will huddle with the duo, with an aide calling him a “fantastic ally for the president-elect.” Perdue was among a small group of Republican senators who was an active campaigner for Trump during the general election.
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton also will meet with Trump and Pence on Friday.
The hawkish Bolton has been mentioned as a possible secretary of state candidate, vying with the likes of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former CIA Director David Petraeus, the retired Army general who was last year sentenced to two years probation for giving his biographer-mistress classified information.