As President-elect Donald Trump stood onstage during the debut night of his “thank you” tour and teased that he was about to announce a surprise Cabinet pick, some in the Ohio crowd bellowed: “No Romney! No Romney!”
Trump’s administration selections have largely been cheered by close allies and supporters. Many have deep ties to Washington and Wall Street that would seem contradictory to the populist, outsider campaign Trump ran with a promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption and elitism in government.
But the possible selection of Romney, who has been on Trump’s shortlist for secretary of state despite being a forceful critic throughout the campaign, has been met with trepidation from many of the working-class voters that propelled the Republican to his astonishing victory.
Kim Doss loudly cheered Trump at the Cincinnati rally but will not forgive Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, for the “witch hunt” he held “to make sure Trump wasn’t the nominee.”
“I think he went out of his way to make that happen, which totally backfired on him,” said Doss, a 46-year-old accountant from Hebron, Kentucky. “He obviously said some really ugly things about (Trump).”
Some of Trump’s most prominent allies, including his campaign manager, have taken the unprecedented step of using national television interviews to bash Romney. And nearly a dozen Trump backers who attended the Ohio victory lap vehemently denounced Romney as a choice to be the nation’s top diplomat.
Then there’s the Russia twist: Russian politicians are concerned about reports that Trump would even consider Romney as secretary of state because of Romney’s harsh stance on Russia. Trump has said he would like to improve U.S.-Russian relations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the NTV channel that Trump’s business accomplishments show him to be a “smart man.”
He added that “if he is a smart man, that means that he will fairly soon become aware of a different level of responsibility. We expect that he act with these considerations in mind.”
Rally-goer Josh Kanowitz said he was willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt for some of his establishment-friendly picks — including former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary — but he visibly recoiled at the suggestion that Romney would be a team-of-rivals style selection from Trump.
Romney, the GOP’s 2012 president nominee, eviscerated Trump in a March speech, delivering broadsides against the New York businessman who he deemed “a con man” and “a fake.”
“His domestic policies would lead to recession,” said Romney. “His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
Source: New York Post