Mitt Romney has confirmed he is not Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, leaving Rex Tillerson, the Exxon Mobil president, as the most likely person to become America’s top diplomat.
Hours before the grand finale of the protracted selection process, Romney announced on Facebook that he would not be part of the Trump administration.
The former Massachusetts governor, who was always an odd choice for Trump’s cabinet given the pair’s scatching attacks on one another during the campaign season, called it an “honor to have been considered for secretary of state”.
On Twitter Monday night, Trump said that he would announce his choice for the crucial cabinet position on Tuesday morning.
Several news reports confirmed on Monday night that he would select Rex Tillerson, the president and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, whose lack of experience and close ties to Russian president Vladmir Putin are raising concerns from senators of both parties.
During the campaign, Romney delivered searing criticism of Trump’s business acumen, temperament and personal conduct, calling him at turns a “fraud” and a “phony” who would usher in an era of “trickle-down racism”. Trump, in turn, said Romney “walked like a penguin” and “choked like a dog,” a reference to the former governor’s failure to win the 2012 presidential election.
The acrimony between the two apparently eased after the election, resulting in two very public meetings – one over a dinner of frog legs, scallops and lamb chops at the Jean-Georges restaurant in Trump International Hotel. (A snapshot from the meal captured Trump leaning over his soup with a playful smile while Romney glanced, bemused, at the cameras.)
That scene fueled speculation that Trump was only considering Romney only to torment him for his disloyalty during the campaign. As of last Friday, Trump said Romney was still in the running.
“It’s not about revenge, it’s about what’s good for the country, and I’m able to put this stuff behind us,” Trump said in a television interview on NBC’s Today show on Friday.
The president-elect added: “We had some tremendous difficulty together, and now I think we’ve come a long way.”
Still, Romney had deeply divided Trump’s circle of advisers. Last month Trump’s former campaign manager and advisor Kelly Conway publicly aired her disapproval of Romney, even threatening that there would be a backlash from voters who feel “betrayed”.
“They feel a bit betrayed that you can get a Romney back in there after everything he did,” Conway said on Meet the Press last month. “We don’t even know if he voted for Donald Trump.”
Source; The Guardian