Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday did not refute the rumor that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might appoint him Secretary of Agriculture if elected to the White House.
Bryant is close to the Trump campaign, serving as chief Mississippi fundraiser and Trump surrogate in Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania in recent weeks. Bryant was asked about the rumor on Supertalk radio Tuesday morning.
“Um, well Paul (Gallo), I’ve heard that rumor as well,” Bryant said. “It’s going to be an exciting campaign to watch tonight. We’ve got to get our votes out throughout the day and see if Donald Trump is the victor, then come back in and look at who he may consider for Cabinet positions into the future.”
“It would be great for the state of Mississippi to be a part of the Donald Trump legacy,” Bryant continued. “But rumors are all over these days.”
By all accounts, Bryant’s relationship to the New York business mogul is tight. Republican political consultants in the state say Bryant has single-handedly raised close to $2 million for the Trump campaign.
This past weekend, Bryant stumped in two key swing states, joining former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Florida on Friday and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in Pennsylvania on Saturday. Bryant attended six separate Trump events in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
Earlier this year, the Magnolia State governor spoke to a large Trump crowd in Louisiana.
Trump has visited Mississippi three times since announcing his candidacy – once for a Biloxi rally, once for a Madison rally and once for a Jackson rally and fundraiser.
Bryant hosted Donald Trump Jr. at the Neshoba County Fair in July and said the presidential candidate’s son texted him afterwards asking for pictures of the rally.
President Barack Obama appointed current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack when Obama took office in 2009. Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Vilsack is the first agriculture secretary since the Jimmy Carter presidency to serve a president’s full term.
If appointed, Bryant would be the second Mississippian to fill that seat on the Cabinet. Former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy held the seat for almost two years during former President Bill Clinton’s first term.