Former US ambassador in talks to be deputy secretary of state

Former ambassador to China and Singapore, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is said to be in talks for the deputy secretary of state post, US officials told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Huntsman was said to be a serious candidate for secretary of state before President Donald Trump selected former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson instead.

Huntsman is a Mandarin-speaking former 2012 GOP presidential candidate who served under former President Barack Obama.

Tillerson earlier this month recommended Elliott Abrams for the deputy post, but Abrams was passed over after rump learned of Abrams’ criticism’s during Trump’s presidential campaign. Such previous criticisms could also pose a problem for Hunstman. At one point during the 2016 election, Huntsman asked Trump to drop out of the race.

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsmantold the Salt Lake Tribune last fall.

Huntman later said he would support Trump even though he had “fundamental philosophical differences.”

Trump administration officials said that the decision wasn’t final and that other candidates were under consideration.

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