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Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Political affiliation aside, we must let Trump choose people he’s confident in

As President-elect Donald Trump comes forth with the first official appointments to his administration, it is less important to focus on political parties than on the skills required to effectively solve the country's problems, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn said on Friday.

"I think it's less important to say, 'Well, this one's a Republican, this one's a Democrat, this one's for the East Coast, this one's for the West Coast.' Let's put our attention on having the skill set that's necessary to achieve the goals that Mr. Trump would like to achieve in the next couple of years," she said.

"What we have to do is allow [Trump] the opportunity to build out a group of individuals that he will have confidence in and that he knows are on the same thought pattern," said Blackburn, an executive committee member of Trump's transition team.

Blackburn told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" that while she thinks the Trump administration will eventually include women and members of different races, the focus at the moment is finding the most qualified person to do each job.

"Just as you look at problem-solving for a corporation, you do the same thing when you're looking at re-engineering a federal government that has grown far too large and has become so bureaucratic it is [incapable] of solving the problems that the citizens have," she said.

Blackburn said she has not been offered any positions or had any conversations with the president-elect about serving on his administration.

She said that Trump's first three picks — Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA director, Rep. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn for national security advisor — reflect the top concern of the administration: national security.

And, despite Flynn being a controversial figure, Blackburn said the former general's record of good decision-making judgment while serving his country makes him a very good fit for the job.

"I think you look at the whole of General Flynn's background and what you see is someone who is very committed to this country, who is willing to have laid his life down for this country and for our freedoms, and I don't think that that can be discounted one bit," Blackburn said.

The representative said Flynn, who advised Trump on foreign policy matters over the duration of his campaign, will bring the same discernment as a military general to his new role as national security advisor in how he gathered, processed and distilled information.


Former CIA director James Woolsey echoed Blackburn's praise in a separate "Squawk on the Street" interview Friday, saying that he thought the three officially appointed members were good choices.

"I think the key thing is that the three that they have selected for national security advisor, CIA, particularly those two, and Attorney General are really outstanding and able people who have done important things," said Woolsey, who served as central intelligence director under President Bill Clinton.

Woolsey said it was good Trump picked professionals to work on the national security side in light of the state of global conflict with terrorist organizations like ISIS.

While things are improving as government-sponsored troops chip away at the Islamic State's strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa, the next step will be closing in on ISIS' operations worldwide, Woolsey said.

"The next thing we need to do is work together closely with the 30 or 40 countries in which ISIS is operating and not only take out ISIS' caliphate in Iraq and Syria but start wearing down around the world," he said. "We have to get on top of that, we have to find the terrorists before they commit terrorist attacks, and stop them and that is not easy."