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cabinet role

Romney once called him a phony and a fraud - but Trump may be ready to bury the hatchet

Romney, who ran for the GOP in 2012, is apparently being considered for secretary of state.

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Donald Trump is considering Mitt Romney as secretary of state, in what would be a major olive branch to mainstream Republicans who opposed the tycoon’s candidacy.

CNN and NBC said Trump would meet over the weekend with Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who was the Republicans’ unsuccessful 2012 White House candidate against President Barack Obama.

NBC said that Trump was considering Romney as secretary of state, which would put a figure with more orthodox Republican views in charge of US foreign policy.

Senator Jeff Sessions, an arch-conservative Republican from Alabama who is one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, said he expected the incoming president to consider the “capable” Romney for some 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, himself a top contender for a cabinet post.

“And I think Mr Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things,” Sessions told reporters after meeting the president-elect at his Trump Tower in Manhattan.

PBS NewsHour / YouTube

Romney was one of the staunchest Republican opponents of Trump’s candidacy during the party’s primaries, describing the businessman as vulgar, unprincipled and threatening to US values.

Romney in particular chastised Trump for proposing a ban on all foreign Muslims entering the United States.

In March, Romney said that:

Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies.

He also described him as a “phony, a fraud”.


Romney has a more traditional Republican scepticism of Russia, which he called the top geopolitical threat to the United States during the 2012 election.

In a striking departure for a Republican, Trump has voiced hope for working with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has spoken warmly of the businessman-turned-world leader.

Media reports have speculated on a wide range of names to be secretary of state including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, another Republican who was initially lukewarm to Trump.

An Indian American, Haley would inject diversity into the cabinet after a divisive election in which Trump was outspoken in his criticism of immigration.

Other names floated for secretary of state include Rudy Giuliani, the combative former New York mayor and staunch Trump defender who would likely face scrutiny over a slew of business dealings, and hawkish former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.


Abe meeting

Separately, photos of Trump’s landmark first talks with a foreign leader show his daughter Ivanka was present, underscoring the family’s influence as he readies to take power.

In the meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the mogul’s Trump Plaza residence, Ivanka was seen seated as the group conversed in the opulent reception room.

Media were shut out of the gathering in Manhattan, but images released by the Japanese government also showed Ivanka and her husband, real estate developer and publisher Jared Kushner, standing and chatting with Abe.

Ivanka and Kushner, both 35, have emerged as key advisers to Trump, who shocked the world by beating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 8 November election.

World leaders have scrambled to establish ties with Trump but Abe was the first to see him in person since the vote which has provoked anxiety over US foreign policy and its commitment to security in Asia.

Abe told reporters afterwards that the encounter convinced him the US president-elect was someone “in whom I can have great confidence”.

“We were able to have a very candid talk over a substantial amount of time. We held it in a very warm atmosphere,” he said.

Without confidence between the two nations, our alliance would never function in the future.

Trump Evan Vucci Evan Vucci

Also seen standing in one of the photos, amidst the gilt and chandeliers of Trump’s skyscraper, was former general Michael Flynn, who has reportedly been offered the post of national security adviser.

- © AFP, 2016 with reporting from Daragh Brophy

Read: Nearly 24 hours from freedom, Brendan Dassey’s release from prison has been blocked >

Read: ‘This will bring us back to the dark ages’: Anti-racism group hits out at National Party >

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