US President-elect Donald Trump is considering Mitt Romney, one of his fiercest critics and the 2012 Republican nominee, as secretary of state, according to reports.
CNN and NBC News reported on Thursday that Trump would meet with Romney on Saturday and might discuss whether he should be a candidate for secretary of state, in what would be a serious effort on the part of the billionaire to appease mainstream Republicans who opposed his candidacy.
A source close to Trump with direct knowledge of his thinking told NBC News that Trump was considering Romney — a figure with orthodox Republican views — for the post of top US diplomat.
Jeff Sessions, a conservative Republican senator from Alabama, said he expected Trump to consider the “capable” Romney for some top position.
“I think it’s good that the president-elect is meeting with people like Romney. There are a lot of talented people that he needs good relationships with,” said Sessions, a close ally of the president-elect.
“And I think Mr. Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things,” Sessions said after holding a meeting with the billionaire at his Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Romney had been a virulent critic of Trump throughout his Republican primary campaign, imploring voters to reject his candidacy.
In March, he said the victory of Trump in the 2016 presidential election “will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and, more importantly, for the country.”
“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” he warned.
“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” claimed Romney.
Romney said that “dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” pointing to his “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”
The former Massachusetts governor said in June if Trump would be elected president, he could legitimize racism and bigotry and change the moral fabric of American society.
In response, Trump, who endorsed Romney in 2012, denounced him as “ungrateful” person, adding that Romney begged for his endorsement and “would’ve dropped to his knees” for it.
“I believe I won for him, or helped him win, fives states that he was going to lose in the primaries. … He was ungrateful,” Trump said.
Trump had propelled himself as the president-elect by framing himself as an anti-establishment outsider.
However, his campaign had been defined by controversy from the beginning, including disparaging remarks about women, Mexican immigrants and Muslims.