Mitt Romney, less than a year after savaging Donald Trump as a "fraud" and "phony," praised the president-elect Tuesday night as "the very man who can lead us to that better future."
In an extraordinary turnabout that stopped short of an apology, the former Massachusetts governor delivered a smoothly flattering assessment of Trump after meeting with him for dinner – and as Trump moves closer to a decision on naming a secretary of state for his new administration.
Romney called the meeting in New York City – the second between the men – as "enlightening, engaging."
"I enjoyed it very much," he said. "I was impressed by the remarks he made on his victory night. "
"By the way, it's not easy to win," said the 2012 GOP nominee, who lost to President Barack Obama.
"I know that myself. He did something that I've tried to do and was unsuccessful in accomplishing. He won the general election. And he continues with a message that brings people together, and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way."
Romney also said he has been "impressed" with Trump's transition effort.
"The people he's selected as members of his cabinet are solid, effective capable people," he said. "Some of them I know very well," ticking off the selection of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Rep. Tom Price and Sen. Jeff Sessions, and calling them "impressive individuals."
"America's best days are ahead of us," he said. "I think you're going to see America continuing to lead the world in this century. And what I've seen through these discussions I've had with President-elect Trump, as well as what we've seen in his speech on the night of his victory, as well as the people he's selected as part of his transition – all of those things combined give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future."
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