Trump meets old rival Romney as he shapes cabinet

Talks between the bitter enemies spark speculation Trump is reaching out to the Republican establishment.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs up after meeting with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster
Trump has settled some positions in the cabinet so far, a number of them controversial [Mike Segar/Reuters]

US President-elect Donald Trump and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have set aside a bitter rivalry and held talks likely to feed speculation that Romney could be in line to be the next US secretary of state.

Trump and Romney emerged from their meeting after an hour and 20 minutes, and Trump told reporters the talks “went great”.

Romney said the pair “had a far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theatres in the world”.

“We discussed those areas, and exchanged our views on those topics – a very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had,” Romney said.

“And I appreciate the chance to speak with the President-elect and I look forward to the coming administration and the things that it’s going to be doing.”

Romney, who was a leader of the establishment Republican “Never Trump” movement that tried to block the tycoon from becoming the nominee, was first in a long list of people Trump was meeting on Saturday and Sunday as he sought to fill out his cabinet and gather advice before his January 20 move to the White House.

In March, Romney said Trump would be dangerous as president, with policies that could touch off a recession.

Romney also said: “I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.”

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Trump had denounced Romney as a “choke artist” for losing the 2012 election to President Barack Obama.

However, some analysts believe Trump’s meeting with Romney represents an olive branch to establishment Republicans.

‘A phoney, a fraud’

“Trump is having some difficulty in getting some really experienced republicans and civil servants and republican intellectuals to engage with his administration and Mitt Romney would be a sign to them that they are going to have some clout, some buy-in, here and it might actually be worth cooperating with the transition,” New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz told Al Jazeera. 

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“I think what is interesting right now is Romney’s motivation. Whether he genuinely wants a position within Trump’s administration – the administration of a man he has called a phoney, fraud – or whether he wants to take this opportunity similar to how Obama has used his access to Trump to try to influence the President-elect’s position.”

If given a job, Romney, a more mainstream Republican, would serve alongside more hawkish Trump appointees named on Friday: Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as attorney general; retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security adviser; and Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director.

Analysts say that Trump has been considering former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close adviser, for secretary of state, as well as former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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