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Trump to Meet Saturday with Romney: Transition Team

  • VOA News

FILE - From left, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President-elect Donald Trump.

FILE - From left, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President-elect Donald Trump.

An official with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team says he will meet Saturday with Mitt Romney, who has been mentioned in recent days as a potential candidate for secretary of state.

The relationship between Trump and Romney, the unsuccessful 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been contentious; but transition team vice chairman and newly-named attorney general candidate Jeff Sessions has urged Trump to consider Romney for a position in the incoming administration.

Details have not been disclosed but campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said transition officials are still "working on" the meeting, which could be perceived by many as a gesture of reconciliation with the Republican establishment.

In a speech last March, Romney blasted Trump as a "con man" and a "fraud." The president-elect responded by saying Romney "choked like a dog" and repeatedly calling Romney a "loser." Their relationship began to thaw after Romney called Trump to congratulate him on his surprising presidential victory.

Trump is considering multiple people for the nation's top diplomatic post, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Senator Bob Corker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was also mentioned as a candidate for secretary of state but withdrew his name from consideration Thursday after deciding to support Trump as an outside adviser.

If Trump selects Romney for secretary of state, they will have to overcome their differences over Russia. In 2012, Romney described Russia as America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe."

The president-elect has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed the desire to collaborate with Russia in a campaign to destroy Islamic State. After a telephone conversation Monday between Trump and Putin, Trump issued a statement saying he anticipated having a "strong and enduring relationship with Russia."

Trump's overtures toward Russia have raised concern in Washington. President Barack Obama said in Berlin Thursday that Trump should stand up to Russia if it does not conform with America's "values and international norms."

Republican Senator John McCain, a leading voice on national security matters, said any attempt by the Trump administration to reset ties with Russia would be "unacceptable."

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