Departing Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas tells reporters he is talking to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team about joining the new administration, possibly as secretary of Agriculture.
“It is a possibility,” Huelskamp says. He lost a Republican primary in Kansas over the summer.
The conservative has an PhD in agricultural legislation, but was booted off the House Agriculture Committee in 2013 after he spoke up against the reelection of Speaker John Boehner.
“A lot of emails go back and forth–a lot of emails go back and forth,” he said.
Pressed, the congressman said he was not sure if he would take a job if it was offered. “I don’t know, I haven’t talked to my wife about anything like that.”
Huelskamp said he had conversations with the Trump campaign about the Department of Veterans Affairs and its struggles taking care of veterans and it was then that he developed his relationship with the president-elect’s team.
In an interview with Agri-Pulse, a farming news site, the congressman said he was getting serious consideration and that he was having conversations with “many, many people”:
“People who are in the room have been talking to me. If you’re looking to be an outsider I would be quite a pick to fit that. We need to drain the swamp. I certainly am not part of that,” Huelskamp said, referring to Trump’s pledge to keep special interests out of his administration. He said he hadn’t talked to Trump personally.
The congressman supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential primaries, but when his own primary fight came up, Cruz did not campaign for Huelskamp and offered a late endorsement, while the senator’s own political team worked for Huelskamp’s opponent.
The congressman said he was very enthusiastic about the Trump team’s commitment to keeping Trump’s campaign promises, especially regarding corruption, veterans and immigration.
Fellow Kansan Kris Kobash, an adviser to Trump on immigration and the Kansas secretary of state, is big favorite of Huelskamp’s and proof Trump is serious, he said. “Kris Kobash has great expertise.”