According to a story in The Washington Post, Mitt Romney was eventually passed over for the role of secretary of state by Donald Trump because he refused to publicly apologize for his sharp criticism of the president-elect during the Republican primary season.
After two failed attempts at winning the presidency, Romney had settled for the role of an elder statesman in the Republican Party. It was a role befitting a man known for his decency and integrity, regardless of whatever ideological differences anyone may have with him.
During this year’s presidential campaign, the former governor of Massachusetts emerged as Donald Trump’s most vocal and sharpest critic.
Back in March, when the rise of the billionaire real estate mogul had the Republican establishment panicking, Romney firmly grasped the torch to lead the “Never-Trump” movement and delivered a blistering indictment of Trump.
Romney called Trump "a phony" and "a fraud" who was "playing the American public for suckers," in his speech delivered at the University of Utah.
"[Trump's] promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University," he said.
He laid into Trump on everything from his plan to defeat ISIS, calling it "the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of this entire campaign season" to his other foreign policy proposals such as denying Muslims entry into the United States.
“His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe," Romney said. "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."
It was a takedown by a man who felt he possessed the requisite moral high ground to do so. And, at the time, he did.
But as Trump began to name his cabinet appointees after his victory, Romney threw his hat into the ring to become Trump’s chief diplomat.
Ever the showman, Trump made a spectacle of his consideration of Romney for secretary of state.
The two dined at Trump’s golf course and the president-elect professed his admiration for his one-time nemesis over a course of frog legs.
"We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world, and these discussions I have had with him have been enlightening and interesting and engaging,” Romney said after the dinner. “I have enjoyed them very, very much.”
His groveling capitulation to Trump in exchange for a cabinet position proved that it was his words that were worth even less than a degree from Trump University.
In Romney’s defense, however, the Post reported his motivation was rooted in a deep desire to serve the country, according to people close to him — which was also the same sense of duty that compelled him to run for president on two occasions.
Still, Romney has been widely excoriated by Republicans and Democrats alike for his sudden change of heart about Trump.
Outgoing Democratic senator, Harry Reid, was particularly harsh telling the The Huffington Post:
“This is a man who came out big-time against Trump. Oh, the things he said about Trump. Well, that’s great, that’s wonderful. Either he wasn’t telling the truth, or he’s a person with no character. After having said that, to go and do homage to this guy he said awful things about, I don’t think that shows much character. Mitt Romney is somebody I had respect for. I have none anymore.”
Romney responded to the criticism and expressed no regret for changing his tune about the president-elect he once called a con man.
“I was indeed very critical of Mr. Trump during his campaign,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Sources mentioned in the Post’s story alluded to the notion that Trump’s courting of Romney was his way of exacting revenge for his remarks earlier this year.
The Post reported that according to a “Trump friend,” the president-elect “enjoyed watching his dinner partner grovel” at the much-hyped dinner at Jean-Gorges in New York.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller, however, denied that Trump wanted any apology from Romney, calling the story, “completely false.”
Once the moral conscience of the Republican Party, Romney has now become the poster child for the two-facedness of politicians who are willing to debase themselves in exchange for high political office.