Saturday, 19 November 2016

Donald Trump to meet fierce critic Mitt Romney

Republican President-elect Donald Trump is to meet one of his severest critics, Mitt Romney, as he continues to build his transitional team.


Media have speculated the post of secretary of state could be discussed.

During the election campaign, Mr Romney called Mr Trump a “fraud” and “phony”, while Mr Trump said Mr Romney’s unsuccessful campaign against Barack Obama in 2012 was “the worst ever”.

Mr Trump has settled several posts so far, a number of them controversial.

The nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was rejected from becoming a federal judge in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.

Lt Gen Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, has drawn concern over his strident views on Islam.

Separately on Friday, Mr Trump settled three lawsuits for fraud brought against him over his Trump University.

He tweeted on Saturday that he had settled “for a small fraction of the potential award because as President I have to focus on our country”.

Donald Trump will be at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, all weekend to conduct more meetings with potential appointees.

He tweeted: “Will be working all weekend in choosing the great men and women who will be helping to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

‘Choke artist’
Asked about the Romney meeting, Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the presidential transition, told reporters, “The president-elect wants the best and brightest people to put this country forward: people who supported him, people who didn’t support him.”

He said Mr Trump usually started conversations by soliciting opinions and thoughts, and then deciding if a candidate warranted appointment.

“The conversation with Mitt Romney is just that: an opportunity to hear his ideas and his thoughts,” Mr Spicer said.

Mr Romney’s thoughts back in March were decidedly hostile.

He said Mr Trump had neither “the temperament nor the judgement to be president”, accusing him of bullying, misogyny and dishonesty.

“Prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished” if Mr Trump became the nominee, he said.

“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”

Mr Trump responded by mocking Mr Romney, calling him a “failed candidate” and a “choke artist”.

However, US media suggest the role of secretary of state could be up for grabs, despite former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani being the early frontrunner.

Mr Romney would certainly be another link to the Republican establishment, following the appointment of party insider Reince Priebus as chief of staff.

Mr Romney in the past has taken a far more critical line on Russia than that suggested by Mr Trump.

Ex-ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are also in the running.

Another of those meeting Mr Trump on Saturday will be James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general being considered for defence secretary.

Gen Mattis oversaw military operations in the Middle East from 2010 to 2013 but disagreed with President Barack Obama’s desire for a greater presence in the Gulf.

He is not the only candidate though – Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas met Mr Trump on Friday, the New York Times reporter.

The other key appointments so far are Mike Pompeo as CIA director and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist.
Donald Trump to meet fierce critic Mitt Romney
‘Stunning reversal’
In settling the Trump University class-action lawsuits, Mr Trump “was willing to sacrifice his personal interests, put this behind him, and move forward”, his lawyer said.

Mr Trump had been sued by former students who paid $35,000 (£28,000) for real estate “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.

The lawsuits alleged the school had misled students and failed to deliver on its promises

In his tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said the only thing bad about his election victory was that he would not be able to win the Trump University case in court. BBC News
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