Mitt Romney has become a pawn in the latest episode of The Cabinet Apprentice. President-elect Trump met with Romney on Saturday, November 19 to have “far-reaching conversation” on a potential cabinet position. Most believe Trump is considering him for secretary of state.
While a Romney cabinet appointment could be an olive branch from Trump to hesitant conservatives, some speculate this is a ploy to humiliate the former presidential candidate. For Trump’s populist base, this could be almost as exhilarating as the “wall.” It would also atone for Romney’s grave sin of publicly insulting Trump by calling him a con-man.
Kellyanne Conway’s conduct of late points us to door number two: public humiliation. Over the last week Conway has been on the warpath against Romney. On CNN’s State of the Union she remarked that “I’m all for party unity, but I’m not sure we have to pay for that with the Secretary of State position…I think there are concerns that those of us that are loyal have, and we want a secretary of State who’s loyal to the president.”
I want to note two things here.
First, Conway implies here that it would take a public apology of massive proportions to get Romney on board. There are plenty of arguments for and against a Secretary of State Romney, but what was said during the campaign ought not matter here. Were she to say their foreign policy views are too different in nature (which they are), that’s fine. But enough with the undying loyalty nonsense.
Second, politically speaking, this looks bad. Trump hasn’t attacked Romney once since the election, at least as far as I know. Conway, however, has gone rogue. Neither Trump nor his inner circle have any control over her. According to a CNN source, Trump is “irritated” with her on this issue. An article on the same subject in the New York Times refuted that source. In it Conway was merely “encouraging a public airing of conflicting views when he is unsure of what path to take.”
Trump will meet again with Romney on Tuesday, so by later this week we could have an indicator of what that path may be.