Elliott Abrams, a former National Security Council and State Department official, will meet with President Donald Trump Tuesday about an appointment as the number-two official in the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson.
Abrams has connections to the political establishment that has criticized the president, including many who said they would never work with Trump, according to Politico.
White House officials led by chief strategist Steve Bannon have been looking into Abrams' past comments about Trump to see if he can be trusted, Politico reported.
In May 2016, Voice of America News reported Abrams said: "He [Trump] has no appreciation whatsoever of the importance of allies and alliances—all he does is insult them all the time and say they're not doing enough,"
Whether Abrams gets the position will be a test of how willing Trump is to bring on board those who have criticized him, Politico reported. Dozens of positions in national security and foreign policy are not yet filled in the Trump administration.
Bringing in the experience of Abrams would benefit Tillerson, who has no experience at running a government agency, Politico's report said.
When he worked for former President Ronald Reagan's State Department in the 1980s, he did not agree with claims that Central American governments allied with the U.S. had committed human rights abuses. He was convicted in 1991 in two misdemeanors for withholding information from Congress. President George H.W. Bush later pardoned him.
Some Democrats have said that Abrams could provide diplomatic experience and expertise missing from the Trump administration.
"As Deputy, Elliott will surely generate controversy, but he commands respect among many in the foreign policy community," Derek Chollet, a former senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said in Politico's report.
"While we disagree on some issues, I have always found him ready to engage debates with an open mind. I think he would complement Tillerson well," Chollet said.
The Senate must confirm any appointment for the deputy position, Politico's report said.
The National Interest posted a column about why Trump should not appoint Abrams, saying, "If Trump indeed formally nominates Abrams, he will be promoting a man who has shown a willful disdain of congressional overseers to the point of being convicted on charges coming close to perjury."
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