Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway confirmed that the candidates for secretary of state include Orange County Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, an outspoken defender of Vladimir Putin who calls the idea of Russian human rights abuses “baloney.”
Conway brought up his name Friday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” when asked about Trump’s search for a secretary of state. She mentioned half a dozen names including Mitt Romney, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and David Petraeus, then added Rohrabacher into the mix.
“You’re just talking about a very diverse group – John Bolton, Dana Rohrabacher. I think this is a tremendous process because you can’t rush through such an important selection,” Conway said.
Rohrabacher, a 69-year-old Republican from Costa Mesa, Calif., has been saying that he is under consideration for secretary of state but now there’s confirmation from the Trump team. Rohrabacher urged supporters in an email to vote for him last month in a Breitbart News online poll of who Trump should pick, but received just 4.06 percent support. Rudy Giuliani, who took first place in that poll, is reportedly no longer in contention for the position.
Rohrabacher, a former Reagan speechwriter, is considered to be Putin’s top congressional ally.
Rohrabacher and Putin once arm-wrestled in an alcohol-fueled bout at an Irish pub in Washington, D.C. Putin won.
Yahoo News anchor Bianna Golodryga, in an interview with Rohrabacher Wednesday, noted that he’d spoken of human rights abuses in China. She said “much can be said as well about Russia in that regard.”
“Oh, baloney,” Rohrabacher shot back. “Where do you come from?”
Golodryga replied that she’d come to the United States as a political refugee from Moldova, in the former Soviet Union.
“Oh that’s good, then the audience knows that you’re biased,” Rohrabacher said.
Rohrabacher, like Trump, is a hardliner on illegal immigration.
Both reject the scientific consensus that humans are causing the planet to warm, with Rohrabacher once suggesting that “dinosaur flatulence” might have helped warm the planet in the past.
Rohrabacher, a folk singer and surfing enthusiast, is also an outspoken proponent of marijuana legalization.
Rohrabacher has been in Congress for 28 years. He’s never held a committee chairmanship but is a senior member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and chairman of the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.