US president-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney after their meeting
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney set aside their long-standing rivalry on Saturday and had talks likely to feed speculation that Romney could be a candidate to be Trump’s Secretary of State.
“Mr. President-elect, how are you sir?” Romney said on arrival.
Trump told reporters after their meeting that their talks “went great”, while Romney said he and Trump “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.
“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 said.
Romney was first in a long list of people Trump was meeting on Saturday and Sunday as he seeks to fill out his Cabinet and gather advice ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration as president.
He was a leader of the establishment Republican “never Trump” movement that tried to block Trump from becoming the party’s nominee.
The 2012 Republican nominee had opposed Trump’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.
In a speech in March, he said Trump would be dangerous as president, with policies that could touch off a recession.
Romney had other criticisms of Trump, as well: “I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart,” he said.
Trump had denounced Romney as a “choke artist” for losing the 2012 election to President Barack Obama.
But with Trump now president-in-waiting, Romney’s meeting with Trump was symbolic of hard-won party unity.
Whether Romney will join the Trump administration is unclear.
Romney, a more mainstream Republican, would serve alongside more hawkish Trump appointees named on Friday.
They are Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as Attorney-General, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser and Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
Trump has been considering former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close adviser, for secretary of state, as well as former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton and Sen Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Trump is to meet Giuliani on Sunday.
Transition officials said Trump’s meeting with Romney was supposed to be a general discussion about the incoming administration.
A Romney confidant said of Romney’s secretary of state prospects: “Could it happen? I suppose. But it’s unlikely”.
Instead, the source said the meeting gives “the good housekeeping seal of approval to Republicans who do not know if they should help Trump or not”.