Many of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters thought it was crazy that the president-elect met with Mitt Romney twice.
Maybe it was, instead, crazy like a fox.
Just like so many times during the campaign, some of us are playing checkers while Trump is playing chess. Here’s why I think there is a special psychology to President-elect Trump’s strategy with Romney. And here is why I believe there is no way he actually picks Romney as secretary of state, even though Romney is said to be on the short list and has had the most highly publicized meetings with Trump.
Romney was one of the most ardent enemies of candidate Trump during the race. He was solid in his disdain for the billionaire, rogue candidate. He was arguably the head of the octopus in the “Never Trump” movement.
In one of Romney’s only public speeches during the presidential campaign, Romney called Trump a “phony,” “fraud,” “con man” and “fake.”
“His domestic policies would lead to recession,” Romney added. “His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
Romney appeared on Fox News and demanded Trump release his taxes saying, “Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay. Or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled, like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”
Romney even went so far as to recruit a Utah Mormon, Evan McMullin, to run for president as an independent in an effort to cause Trump to lose the Republican state of Utah and possibly the Electoral College vote.
Looking back after the election, we now see Trump did not need Utah. Trump’s electoral win was so big, he could have lost Utah and Florida (the state every expert said Trump must win) and still won the presidency.
Romney now looks foolish and on the wrong side of history after Trump beat McMullin handily in Utah, outperformed Romney with every demographic and won six states that Romney couldn’t pull off in 2012.
After the election, President-elect Trump began meetings with potential Cabinet members, and Romney gladly accommodated, because it was his only shot at relevance other than “two-time loser for president.”