Trump met twice with Romney, one of a handful of candidates being considered for secretary of State, in the weeks following his election and publicly considered him for the position despite Romney’s attacks during the campaign. Romney reportedly refused a request from Trump aides to publicly apologize for calling Trump a “con man” and a “fraud.” But the former Massachusetts governor now believes Trump will be open to criticism.
“I was more than a little surprised that the president-elect reached out to me to potentially serve as secretary of state of the United States,” Romney wrote Saturday in the Salt Lake Tribune. “I see it as a welcome sign that he will be open to alternative views and even to critics.”
Romney was a finalist to be the next secretary of state before Trump selected ExxonMobil Chairman Rex Tillerson for the top diplomatic spot.
“I was indeed very critical of Donald Trump during his campaign,” he wrote. “But now he has been elected president and accordingly, if I could have helped shape foreign policy to protect the country I love, I would have been more than willing to do so.”
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee said he wishes Trump the best in his administration.
“As the country’s next president, I earnestly hope that he will be successful in fostering greater prosperity and peace. I believe all Americans can join in that wish,” Romney wrote.
In confirming earlier this week that he would not be secretary of state, Romney said it was an “honor” to have been considered.
“It was an honor to have been considered for secretary of state of our great country. My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace,” he said
Romney had been under consideration for the job for weeks. Romney met with Trump and incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus multiple times, including once for dinner in Manhattan. Priebus said Romney and Trump, both from the northeast region of the country, also talked about sports and a mutual love for Tom Brady, the quarterback for the NFL’s New England Patriots. Priebus also said Trump had Romney laughing so hard that he cried.