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Romney, Mattis Cabinet contenders

AAP logoAAP 19/11/2016 Catherine Lucey and Laurie Kellman

Mitt Romney is a key contender to become the nation's next secretary of state and retired Marine Corps Gen James Mattis is an "impressive" prospect for defense secretary, President-elect Donald Trump and his No. 2, Mike Pence, say.

"Gov Romney is under active and serious consideration to serve as secretary of state of the United States," said Pence, the vice president-elect who is leading the search for Trump's cabinet members, in an interview on CBS's Face the Nation.

On Sunday, the billionaire tweeted "General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, who is being considered for secretary of defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General's General!"

The comments are indications that Trump is looking outside his immediate circle as he works toward rounding out his foreign policy and national security teams. On Friday, he named a loyalist, retired Gen Michael Flynn, as his national security adviser.

Trump told reporters Sunday that one of his most loyal and public allies, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was also a prospect for secretary of state "and other things." Giuliani at one point had been considered for attorney general, but Trump gave that job to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential contender, and Trump exchanged bitter insults during the campaign, and Mattis has not been considered a Trump confidante. The appointment of more establishment figures could offer some reassurance to lawmakers and others concerned about Trump's hard-line positions on immigration and national security and his lack of foreign policy experience.

Trump received more visitors to his golf club in New Jersey Sunday. Besides Giuliani, Trump met with New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, his former transition chairman who was replaced by Pence after the election.

Trump's transition team said former Texas governor and GOP presidential rival Rick Perry was expected to meet with Trump on Monday.

The businessman and president-elect also apparently was considering prospects to lead the Commerce Department, meeting with billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Trump started filling key administration positions on Friday, picking Alabama Sen Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Kansas Rep Mike Pompeo to head the CIA, signaling a sharp rightward shift in US security policy as he begins to form his Cabinet.

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