Trump, Romney to discuss secretary of state job

Julie Pace
Associated Press

New York — Donald Trump plans to meet Saturday with Mitt Romney, the Republican standard-bearer in 2012 and a vocal Trump critic earlier this year, who the president-elect now is considering for the job of secretary of state, a transition official says.

Romney joins a list of contenders to become the nation’s top diplomat that includes former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who also was critical of Trump during the campaign, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate.

Trump and Romney began talking about meeting last week when the former Massachusetts governor and Michigan native called to congratulate Trump on winning the election, said transition officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the schedule hasn’t been made public. It may signal that the pair are trying to mend rifts in the Republican Party.

Trump has been meeting with a stream of Republicans, business leaders and others at Trump Tower in New York as he sets about filling staff and cabinet positions before taking office in January. Some are candidates for administration positions and others are offering advice.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who met with Trump Wednesday and is a potential candidate for defense secretary or attorney general, said it was a good idea for Trump and Romney to have a face-to-face talk.

“He’s meeting with a lot of talented people that he needs good relationships with,” Sessions said of Trump. “And I think Mr. Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things.”

Early on during the primary campaign, Romney led opposition to Trump within the Republican Party and warned against his selection as the nominee. He continued after it was clear that Trump had secured the nomination. In a June interview on CNN, Romney said Trump would fundamentally change the character of the U.S.

Trump’s election would mean, “Trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America,” Romney said.

Trump, in turn, repeatedly needled Romney for losing to Obama in 2012, calling him a loser and saying he “choked like a dog” in the campaign.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway didn’t elaborate on plans for the meeting. “Happy to have his support,” said told reporters at Trump Tower.

Meanwhile, Trump began building out his national security team Thursday, offering retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the job of national security adviser. The move came as Trump made his most direct foray into foreign policy since the election, meeting with Japan’s prime minister.

Flynn, who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has advised Trump on national security issues for months. As national security adviser, he would work in the White House and have frequent access to the president.

The official wouldn’t say whether Flynn had accepted the job.

Trump held his first face-to-face meeting with a world leader since winning the presidential election, huddling privately with Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

Associated Press contributed.