Mitt Romney appears to have no hard feelings for being passed over as Trump’s secretary of state. Even though ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was chosen for the position in the end, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee says that his candidacy alone proves Trump is willing to listen to alternative viewpoints.
He expressed his thoughts in a short letter to the editor via The Salt Lake Tribune on Saturday:
My political journey was surely not so bizarre as the 2016 campaign. That said, let me offer this personal perspective. I was indeed very critical of Donald Trump during his campaign. But now he has been elected president and accordingly, if I could have helped shape foreign policy to protect the country I love, I would have been more than willing to do so.
I was more than a little surprised that the president-elect reached out to me to potentially serve as secretary of state of the United States. I see it as a welcome sign that he will be open to alternative views and even to critics. As the country's next president, I earnestly hope that he will be successful in fostering greater prosperity and peace. I believe all Americans can join in that wish.
The letter shows Romney’s goodwill towards Trump’s final decision. It also does make a noteworthy point about the president-elect’s attitude since winning the 2016 election.
Trump has certainly nominated a lot of campaign surrogates (something a successful candidate is supposed to do), but he’s also appointed and considered numerous candidates who were not just skeptical of his presidential bid – but downright hateful during the election.
Romney, for starters, called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” He even said Trump’s promises were as “worthless as a degree from Trump University.” For someone who’s been characterized by the media as petty – it’s certainly something Trump took the high road and considered a former disparager sincerely because he wanted the best person for the job.
Former governor Mitt Romney wasn't the only former anti-Trumper spending time at Trump Tower.
Sen. Mike Lee from Utah spent over an hour meeting with the president-elect earlier this week. The main topic was the Supreme Court – which includes a vacancy many say Trump will look for Lee to fill. Sen. Lee was definitely no Trump supporter during the primaries. He disavowed him after the Access Hollywood tape and even went on to vote for Evan McMullin.
Trump’s willingness to listen to former critics extends to the other side of the political spectrum.
The president-elect met with Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard last month. The two discussed the civil war in Syria and numerous foreign policy affairs. Gabbard is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and was a supporter of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. Many in her party were upset that she even took the time to meet with Trump.
Donald Trump has also actively vetted Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp for potential positions in his administration. They both come from red states, but the move still demonstrates that Trump is willing to find whoever is the best fit for the job.
Perhaps the biggest day spent speaking to people at completely different ends of the political spectrum: December 8th. This was the day Trump held a meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio (a former Hillary supporter) and the manager of DiCaprio's environmental nonprofit organization. The three discussed climate change issues and green energy advancement. The famous Hollywood actor has been an ardent advocate of the environment and has made public jabs at Trump over his skepticism of climate change. On the same day, Trump officially nominated Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has been one of the fiercest critics of the EPA and has fought the department rigorously over environmental regulations.
Despite the Pruitt nomination, Trump suggested to DiCaprio they meet again next month to continue their dialogue.
Say what you will about Donald Trump, but the guy is certainly willing to lend an ear to his critics.