The battle over who will be our next secretary of state seems to have taken an ugly turn, though the divisions are typical: the establishment vs. the grassroots. In this case Mitt Romney and Rudolph Giuliani’s respective camps going at it. Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump has become wary of picking Giuliani as our top diplomat, given his consulting group has a contract with Qatar and his high-priced speaking engagements. It also didn’t help that the former New York mayor mouthed off to The Wall Street Journal that he would be a better pick than John Bolton. Giuliani has indicated that secretary of state is the only position he’s interested in, besides the Trump transition team having him selected as Director of National Intelligence as a fall back:
Rival factions of Republicans are locked in an increasingly caustic and public battle to influence President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for secretary of state, leaving a prominent hole in an otherwise quickly formed national security team that is unlikely to be filled until next week at the earliest.
The debate inside Mr. Trump’s wide circle of formal and informal advisers — pitting supporters of one leading contender, Mitt Romney, against those of another, Rudolph W. Giuliani — has led to the kind of dramatic airing of differences that characterized Mr. Trump’s unconventional and often squabbling campaign team.
And it traces the outlines of the enduring split in the Republican Party between establishment figures who scoffed at Mr. Trump’s chances of victory and the grass-roots insurgents who backed him as a disrupter of the Washington power structure.
The most publicly vocal faction has been the group opposed to Mr. Romney, which has questioned whether he would be loyal after his searing criticism of Mr. Trump during the campaign. But Mr. Trump himself has told aides that he believes Mr. Romney “looks the part” and would make a fine secretary of state, a senior Trump official said on Thursday. Mr. Trump, who is always difficult to read and is capable of changing his mind at any minute, has also praised Mr. Giuliani in recent conversations with acquaintances.
Yet, there’s also a question of loyalty. Mr. Romney became a prominent representative of the Never Trump wing of the party, who torched Trump—saying there would be trickle down racism from the president-elect. In March, he delivered a very publicized speech in Salt Lake City, where he called Trump a fraud and a phony. So, how to remedy this? Well, there are sources that are saying that a very public apology could help Romney if he’s serious about the position (via The Hill):
Fox News is reporting that Donald Trump’s transition team wants Mitt Romney to publicly apologize for railing against the president-elect during the campaign.
A transition official told Fox’s Ed Henry that some in Trump’s inner circle want the former Massachusetts governor to apologize in order to be seriously considered for the secretary of State.
An apology from Romney would probably please the Trump supporters, as it would show how the president-elect can make people grovel to be accepted into the new order of things (for now). At the same time, it would be a confirmation of every criticism in the book over Northeastern Republicans: they’re weak, they’re unprincipled, and they blow with the political wind. Then again, who cares? Romney isn’t running for president again, and he’s certainly going to get confirmed should he be nominated. There’s not much downside other than the usual suspects hurling some unpleasant things his way, which would pale in comparison to the abuse he took during the 2012 election. Yet, Haberman and Peters also noted that this rift between Giuliani and Romney could lead the president-elect to nominate someone else for the position: former Marine Gen. John F. Kelly.