There was no more visible Republican foe of Donald Trump during the campaign than the GOP nominee for president in 2012, Mitt Romney.
But NBC News is reporting that at a meeting this weekend between the two men, the president=elect may offer Romney the secretary of state slot in his cabinet.
The two men are set to discuss “governing moving forward” and potentially a role for Romney in Trump’s Cabinet, a senior Republican source told CNN on Thursday.
Romney has told friends that he would like to serve in government again and the one job he is interested in is secretary of state, a senior Republican with knowledge of the transition tells CNN. The source says that Romney is meeting with Trump in part to discuss it.
The former Massachusetts governor is being presented as a choice that would show Trump is looking for “adults” because he would bring a team of professionals along with him, the source said, adding that the nomination is being seen as a “serious” possibility.
The meeting with Romney comes as concern about Rudy Giuliani’s chances of confirmation continue — a factor, the source said, that has been discussed with Trump. It’s also the latest in a series of Trump’s conversations and encounters with Republicans who did not support his candidacy in an effort to reunite the GOP following a divisive election that fractured the party establishment.
Trump is also maintaining a jam-packed schedule Thursday as the President-elect’s team looks to tamp down reports of disarray and infighting within the transition effort, which has been slow to ramp up following Trump’s shocking victory last week.
One close friend expressed healthy skepticism that Romney would ever serve in the President-elect’s Cabinet.
Romney has often talked how his father, George, did not enjoy serving in President Richard Nixon’s Cabinet. After McCain won in 2008, Romney told friends that he didn’t want to go into McCain’s Cabinet, if he won.
“Trump’s Cabinet seems like an even lower probability,” the friend said. “I wouldn’t say never, but I would be surprised.”
A Romney appointment would be a startling shift in the two men’s relationship.
One former Romney adviser was surprised by the meeting, but said of Romney, “he cares that much. He’s a patriot. This isn’t about Donald Trump.”
Another Romney ally added that the only position that would attract him would be secretary of state. “He’s known as the economy guy, but look at his book. He is and was more involved in foreign policy issues. And he was right about everything from ISIS to Russia,” the person said.
And so, the chum churns once again for Romney. After the campaign got underway and Trump began to amass delegates, there were reports that he was definitely going to run and save the GOP. It was wishful thinking then and wishful thinking now.
But who really wants Romney in Trump’s cabinet? Chris Cillizza says naming Romney as secretary of state is “big league smart”:
If Trump is willing to actually offer Romney the Secretary of State job and Romney is actually willing to take it, it would represent a major coup for the president-elect. Why?
1) Romney is a serious and highly respected, card-carrying member of the Republican establishment.
2) Per above, Romney has made no secret of his disagreements — both personally and on policy matters — with Trump.
3) It would settle the nerves of the millions of people who didn’t vote for Trump as to what sort of president he might be.
The biggest question — for all of official Washington — is whether Trump can get beyond his own personal grievances and loyalty pledges to focus on doing what is best for the country over the next four years. Who he picks for his key Cabinet posts — and secretary of state is one of the most critical — is a key early indicator of where Trump’s mind is.
Picking Romney — or even South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, another prominent critic with whom Trump met Thursday — would show something that was sorely lacking in Donald Trump the candidate: magnanimity. A willingness to pick the person he thinks is best for the job, not just someone who was unfailingly loyal to him during the campaign. Someone who might challenge his assumptions or opinions from time to time. An equal, not a lackey.
Chris never mentions that the people who, you know, actually voted for Donald Trump would be apoplectic over naming a NAFTA booster, a globalist, and the very definition of elitist to be the most important foreign policy advisor in government.
Presidents don’t name cabinet secretaries to satisfy the losers. He names them to fulfill promises he made during the campaign. Romney is a nice enough fellow, but he and Trump together would be beyond trying to mix oil and water.
It would be like trying to mix gasoline and a lit match.