by Kitty Testa
It was less than a year ago that Mitt Romney castigated Donald Trump for—well—being Donald Trump. Last March, when Trump was shockingly leading the pack in the GOP primary, Romney gave a speech that consisted of a laundry list of reasons that Trump was unsuited to the presidency. Romney’s tirade was hyperbolic, to be sure, but was delivered with such aplomb that his portrayal of Trump induced visions of Alfred E. Neuman riding into Washington D.C. with the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
And yet, here we are, nine months later, and Mitt Romney is the leading contender for president-elect Trump’s Secretary of State. Ironic? Sure. But 2016 is the Year of Irony.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s victorious campaign manager, has expressed outrage over Trump’s consideration of Romney for any cabinet post given Romney’s opposition to the Trump presidency. Whether the outrage is real or the stuff of reality television, we may never know. Trump has already removed two of his top surrogates from consideration for cabinet positions. Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie are out. Along with Conway, they all expressed faith in Trump’s judgment, and this isn’t exactly the appropriate time for a public bout of buyer’s remorse as Trump morphs from the candidate into the chief executive.
Trump’s cabinet is already a strange mix of outsiders and insiders, and one can imagine cabinet meetings becoming contentious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Barack Obama has operated in an echo chamber throughout his presidency, disinterested in dissent, preferring to avoid opposing views. Surely Trump is aware that his temperament—at least his persona—has alarmed allies and enemies alike. His choice for Secretary of State may well be his most important appointment. Of course I would have preferred to see a more libertarian-minded Secretary of State, but I’m a realist, and I’m hoping for the best among limited options. Mitt Romney could be just the right person for this role in a Trump administration. In fact, as long as he champions Trump’s non-interventionist stance, Romney may well make an excellent secretary of state. Here are five reasons why.