4 things to know about Mitt Romney, Trump's potential pick for Secretary of State
President-elect Donald Trump dined with his chief of staff pick, Reince Priebus, and possible secretary of state pick Mitt Romney at an elite Manhattan restaurant Tuesday night. Trump has yet to announce a choice for secretary of state, but Romney's sudden praise of Trump, as well as the multiple recent meetings between the two, make it clear Romney is gunning for a position on Trump's Cabinet.
The secretary of state oversees foreign policy, acting as an advisor to the president and a negotiator with other countries, monitoring overseas U.S. immigration policy and government activities, and is one of the most important Cabinet members in government.
Here are some things to know about Romney:
1. Romney was criticized in 2012 for being an out-of-touch multimillionaire CEO.
In 2012, Mitt Romney ran for president against incumbent President Barack Obama. He failed to overcome hurdles throughout the campaign — including his infamous "47%" comments, his "binders full of women" remark and an embarrassing world tour — as well as an intense dislike among voters who felt he was out of touch with the working class.
Attempts to humanize himself and improve public opinion during the 2012 race fell short. The Netflix documentary Mitt, which follows Romney and his family during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, documented Romney behind the scenes and drew murky reviews from critics and filmgoers, echoing the public response to his 2012 presidential campaign.
2. Mitt Romney has almost no foreign policy experience, aside from "Gaffe-palooza."
During the 2012 presidential race, Romney set off on a world tour to show voters he was capable of handling international relations; things didn't quite pan out as planned. He was mocked during his stop in Britain, with papers calling him "Mitt the Twit" and London Mayor Boris Johnson calling him "a guy named Mitt Romney." At a dinner in Israel, Romney credited Israel's economic health in comparison to Palestine's to Israel's existence of "culture"; Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in the peace process, called Romney's claim "a racist statement that shows a lack of knowledge."
3. Romney supported the Iraq War.
In June 2015, Romney gave a PowerPoint presentation to more than 200 corporate CEOs titled "The Most Consequential Obama Foreign Policy Mistakes." During the presentation, Romney said of the Iraq War: "I certainly supported it at the time, but today, given what we know, it was a mistake." This admission and reversal was repeated frequently by Hillary Clinton — who Romney also criticized in his slideshow — both before and during her 2016 presidential campaign.
4. He's been a vocal critic of Donald Trump.
Throughout the 2016 presidential race, Romney stood firmly in opposition of Trump, frequently criticizing him and the GOP.
In March, Romney called Trump a "fraud" and insisted "his promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University." Speaking out against Trump's remarks against Mexicans, the disabled, veterans and women and commenting on Trump's general incompetence, Romney's criticisms against Trump throughout the 2016 race thawed the icy feelings many ardent Obama supporters held toward Romney since the 2012 election.
However, the possibility of Romney being tapped for Trump's secretary of state, paired with Romney's sudden shift toward glowing praise of the president-elect, has reignited criticism against the former Massachusetts governor.