The Slatest

Pence Says Mitt Romney Is Under “Active Consideration” to Be Secretary of State

President-elect Donald Trump calls out to the press as Mitt Romney leaves after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.  

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being considered to serve as U.S. Secretary of State despite his harsh criticisms of President-elect Donald Trump in the past. Romney is “under active and serious consideration” to become Trump’s Secretary of State, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Fox News. Yet “other distinguished Americans” are also being considered for the role, Pence made clear.

Who else is being considered for the role? Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said on ABC. John Bolton is also reportedly under considering to be picked for the post.

Word that Romney is being considered for the critical role comes a day after the former presidential candidate met with the president-elect in what was undoubtedly a very awkward 80-minute sit-down. Romney openly called Trump a “con man” and a “fraud” during the campaign and said in an interview that a Trump presidency would bring about “trickle-down racism” and “trickle-down bigotry.”

“We had a far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theaters in the world where there are interests of the United States of real significance,” Romney said after the meeting.

Democrats are largely welcoming the prospect of a Romney-led State Department but many don’t seem to be buying it. “In this new world, I would love Mitt Romney at the State Department. I think he would be a consummate diplomat. I think he could come up to speed on foreign policy issues but I think it’s a total head fake,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on CNN. “I think this is Donald Trump still being the entertainer, still running a show where he wants to build suspense. He alone knows which contestant will be the winner, and I think it’s more a nod to give the appearance of bringing people together but I would be very surprised if he chooses Romney.”

Romney didn’t just receive praise from Democrats though. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also harshly criticized the possibility of Giuliani or Bolton at the State Department and characterized Romney as a much more reasonable choice. “As far as reasonability, if I were to rank Romney up there with someone who I think is a reasonable, even-keel versus a Giuliani or a Bolton, I think Giuliani—Giuliani and Bolton are out there on the extreme,” Paul said on CBS. “I don’t think they’re very diplomatic. And I think you want the chief diplomat to be diplomatic.”