Sources close to Governor Andrew Cuomo tell The Chronicle that he is so confident that he will be named Secretary of State in Joe Biden‘s administration that he is already contemplating who he prefers in the Department’s top positions.
Although the President appoints those positions, Cuomo has already tasked political operatives to vet potential candidates for Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary positions, the source claims. He expects ongoing discussions with Biden up to and during the transition to ‘fill out the team’.
Cuomo wants Caroline Kennedy, the former Ambassador to Japan, to serve as Deputy Secretary of State while he leads the Department. Cuomo was once married to Kennedy’s first-cousin, Kerry Kennedy.
Cuomo is considering the appointment of a major Hollywood screenwriter and director in hopes of reinventing the role of public diplomacy abroad, “using film and media more tactically”.
“The Governor is lustily pursuing Aaron Sorkin to serve as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Imagine having Jeb Bartlett‘s speech writer,” he explains. Sorkin wrote and directed four seasons of NBC’s The West Wing. “He can’t reach out to folks aggressively until after the election, but he’s lining up commitments from key people privately.”
“He wants to make the most of his time at the Department,” he adds. “After all, his daughters are very interested in foreign policy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them travel with him on major diplomatic missions.”
It is also clear that Cuomo wants to select an Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment from a Rust Belt community. He is thought to be considering former State Economic Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky and New York Power Authority Chairman John Koelmel for the post, although several out-of-state candidates are being considered as well.
The Chronicle is told that former Governor Elliott Spitzer approached Cuomo for a role at the Department, and even suggested a nomination for Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs.
Cuomo made no commitments to Spitzer, but he unlikely to want Spitzer in a role at the Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary level, even if he eventually acquiesces to recommending Spitzer for an Ambassador-at-Large position.
Giorgio DeRosa will serve as Under Secretary for Political Affairs.