Two Arkansans who have been mentioned as potential Cabinet members were spotted Friday afternoon at President-elect Donald Trump's namesake New York City high-rise.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, who traveled to Manhattan by train Friday morning, arrived at the building about 12:50 p.m. EST, according to media reports.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee entered Trump Tower minutes later for his own appointment with the president-elect.
Responding to reporters' shouted questions, Huckabee joked, "I'm just here for the Starbucks."
Asked whether he looked forward to visiting with his former campaign rival, Huckabee said, "Of course."
Huckabee ran for president in 2008 and again this year, withdrawing after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
He was an early defender of Trump, praising the candidate long before the Republican presidential field had thinned.
The governor's daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a text message that she couldn't "comment on any specifics" but that her father "wants to do what he can to help Pres elect Trump be successful."
Media reports have listed Huckabee as a potential candidate for secretary of commerce or secretary of health and human services.
Sanders, a highly visible Trump senior adviser, communications staff member and surrogate during the campaign, said her father "has great confidence that [the] Pres elect will make a great president with bold and needed reforms."
Huckabee told a camera crew afterward that he had had an "excellent meeting" with Trump.
Asked if he is interested in a Cabinet post, the Fox News personality said, "You know, I'm happy with what I'm doing," adding that he would "serve my country whether it's inside or outside of government."
A spokesman for Cotton declined to comment about the senator's trip to Trump Tower. Cotton didn't visit with reporters in the lobby upon his arrival.
The lawmaker, a Republican from Dardanelle, is on Trump's short list for secretary of defense, The Washington Post reported earlier this week.
The other leading candidate that it emphasized, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, was named attorney general Friday.
An Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cotton is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In an interview shortly before leaving his Capitol Hill office late Thursday afternoon, Cotton had downplayed the reports, saying, "I have not traveled to Trump Tower, [and] no trip's scheduled."
A trip was added to his itinerary later in the day, a Cotton spokesman said Friday.
In the interview with the Democrat-Gazette, Cotton didn't say whether he'd be willing to take the Cabinet post.
"I'm not going to speculate about the president-elect's choices. He's going to make those choices in due time, and I think we should just all give him the time to make the choice that's right for his administration and right for our country," he said.
The Pentagon post is a big responsibility, Cotton said.
"The secretary of defense job is vitally important. It's directly in the chain of command from the president, the commander in chief, to the combatant commanders who are fighting the war in the field. It's also in charge of all the services that are providing the forces and the troops necessary to fight those wars," he said.
The visits by Cotton and Huckabee came one day after a similar stop by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
News organization Politico has reported that the Batesville native is one of several candidates to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Information for this article was contributed by media pool reports at Trump Tower.
A Section on 11/19/2016
Print Headline: Cotton, Huckabee visit NYC tower