Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | Romney | Meeting | Trump | Looms | NJ

Romney Mum After Meeting With Trump

(NBC News)

By    |   Saturday, 19 Nov 2016 02:59 PM

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had little to say to reporters after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump for just over an hour Saturday afternoon.

After coming out of the front door at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, and shaking hands with Trump, a non-smiling Romney told reporters that he'd had a "far-reaching conversation," particularly regarding various world leaders.

"We had a far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theaters in the world where there are interests of the U.S." Romney said. "We had a very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had and appreciate the chance to speak with the president-elect and look forward to the coming administration."

Then the still grim-faced former Massachusetts governor walked away from reporters' shouted questions, got into a vehicle, and left without answering questions about speculation over whether they'd discussed his becoming Secretary of State.

He also would not answer questions about if he'd take any other position in the administration, about whether he still thinks Trump is a "con artist," as he called him earlier this year, or if he and Trump had apologized to each other for their bitter words.

Trump did not address the press at all, but went back inside the club while Romney was speaking with the press. Minutes later, he and Vice President-elect came out the door to greet former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee for another private meeting.

Romney and Trump had an often-contentious relationship throughout the 2016 campaign, with Romney labeling Trump as a "phony, a fraud" during the 2016 campaign, and Trump calling Romney a "choke artist" for losing his election to President Barack Obama.

Romney did extend an olive branch to Trump with a phone call to congratulate him for his win, but Trump so far has chosen mostly loyalists for key roles, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and retired Army Lieutenant Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

However, for CIA director, Trump chose, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo who initially backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination. Trump also met this past week with Sen. Ted Cruz, who sparred fiercely with the eventual president-elect and who refused to endorse him even during a speech at the Republican National Convention.

The meetings are sending a "clear signal" that Trump's appointments will not depend on political affiliations or loyalty to him, Republican National Committee spokesman and Trump transition team member Sean Spicer said Friday.

"He's met with Democrats, independents, Republicans," said Spicer. "His goal is to pick the highest quality and caliber of individuals to advance the agenda that will make the country better."

No official reason has been announced for the meeting, and skeptics note that Romney does not have a great deal of foreign policy experience that would lend itself to his being named as Secretary of State.

In addition, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump surrogate and close adviser, has widely been reported to be under top consideration for the spot.

Romney also campaigned with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had dropped out of the race in May.

After that, Priebus urged Trump and Romney to reconcile their differences, but even this summer, Romney told CNN that Trump's "trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America."

Romney's views on Russia will also likely clash with Trump's. President Barack Obama, during a debate against Romney in 2012, ridiculed him for basing his foreign policy on the 1980s after Romney warned of the growing threat of Russia.

Meanwhile, Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his leadership skills, and the Russian leader was one of the first world leaders to congratulate the new president-elect on his victory.

But while some are seeing Romney's meeting with Trump as a sign of party cooperation, others, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ridiculed the thought of Romney becoming part of a Trump administration.

Warren sent Romney a tweet Friday, including a photo collage of "Donald Trump's Cabinet Shortlist," a photograph that included just four women:

She also asked him if "maybe you could bring your binders full of women with you," a reference to Romney's use of the phrase "binders full of women" to answer a debate question about the number of women he'd reviewed for jobs while he was still governor.

Trump arrived Friday night at Bedminster, reports NJ.com, for a series of meetings that will also include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who lives just 10 miles away from the private golf club, on Sunday.

Christie was demoted to vice chair of Trump's transition team last week, but it remains unclear if he'll be offered a position in Trump's administration. On Thursday, Christie said he expects to finish his final term in office, which will end in 2018, but did not rule out a role in Trump's administration.

Trump is also scheduled to meet with retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, a possible contender for Secretary of Defense.

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Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had little to say to reporters after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump for just over an hour Saturday afternoon.
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