Thursday, November 10, 2016
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday that he's not actively seeking an appointment in the Donald Trump administration, but said it might be difficult to turn down the president-elect.
"I do not expect to receive that phone call," Bryant said at a state Republican Party news conference celebrating Trump's victory. "I played a minor part, actually, in the grand scheme of things. But we will see what the president has to say."
Asked whether he would consider the job of agriculture or energy secretary, if offered, Bryant said he would welcome an opportunity to support farmers. He spoke after delivering a unity speech Wednesday extolling Trump's victory as an "ordained opportunity" for the state. He spoke from a written text, a move he reserves for only the most important occasions.
"Mississippi, like Donald Trump, has often been misunderstood, and seen only for our imperfections," Bryant said. "Today begins a new defining for this president-elect and for our Mississippi. Let us go together forth."
The governor campaigned for Trump in Pennsylvania, Florida and Louisiana as well as Mississippi. He also attended a presidential debate and met with Trump at his New York headquarters.
"President-elect Donald Trump knows Mississippi," Bryant said. "He knows we were at his side during the victory and we will be at his side during the governing."
Bryant has three years left in his second term. If he were to leave, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves would become governor. Such a move could have repercussions down the road for Reeves. The state Constitution limits people who serve more than two years as governor before being elected from winning a second four-year term in their own right.
Other Republicans also said they believe Mississippians will have access to Trump to discuss the state's needs. Republican U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper is hoping to increases the likelihood of assembling Air Force training jets in Meridian. GOP leaders also pointed to the benefit of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran remaining chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker gaining influence after leading efforts to retain the Senate's Republican majority.