Mitt Romney(Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President-elect Donald Trump’s reported courtship of Mitt Romney for Secretary Of State signals a pivot to the normal, a move that should make millions of Americans sigh with relief. Even liberal TV host Bill Maher has openly pined for Romney in the Age of Trump, disturbed by grandiose and pernicious campaign trail language from the Blue Collar Billionaire.
By picking Romney, an able businessman who saved the 2002 Olympics from the brink of bankruptcy, the Trump transition team is moving as one led by a shrewd businessman should: pragmatic and efficient, and willing to move past grudges held on the campaign trail. President Obama noted this when speaking to the press about the transition process, saying that he believed Trump would be driven by pragmatism, not ideology, as he governs — even as Obama expressed concerns that Trump’s temperament could be problematic.
If Romney jumps on board, Trump’s administration may marry establishment Republicans with the Make America Great Again faction of Trump’s base. A Romney in Trump’s cabinet would satiate traditional conservatives, just as his pick of Mike Pence for running mate did months ago. In many ways, Pence, who served 12 years as a U.S. congressman before winning the Indiana governorship, is also a consummate establishment figure. While perhaps more conservative than the average GOP congressman or woman, Pence also embodies the traditional backbone of grassroots conservatism, getting high marks by the American Conservative Union scorecard, for example, yet also serving as a smooth D.C. operator who knows how legislative sausage gets made.
For as much as Donald Trump’s grassroots supporters rightfully lampoon Millennials, the “Snowflake Generation,” for their embrace of intellectually weak and irrational “safe spaces,” it appears Trump supporters’ knee-jerk opposition to Romney may make them guilty of the same hypersensitivity. During the bruising presidential campaign, Romney spoke his mind, and like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, wasn’t afraid to challenge Trump. It speaks highly of Trump’s leadership that he’s willing to name Haley as U.N. Ambassador given her past, sharp criticism of Trump. Haley is a solid choice on many levels. Bringing Romney aboard his administration would be another signal that campaign trail fights won’t necessarily set the agenda of Trump’s presidency.
Romney was elected as an executive in a deeply blue state and would mollify the National Review wing of the conservative movement iced out from the Trump Train tracks. By naming smart, thoughtful public servants like Romney, Trump could put states like Nevada, Virginia and New Hampshire into play, along with traditionally Blue states like Illinois and Maryland which might be open to voting Republican in 2020, especially since they recently elected Republican governors.