Does this mean Trump is only floating Carly Fiorina for DNI in order to torture her too? Because after that embarrassing “champion” comment about Trump’s sneaker collection, I could live with that.
I don’t typically give Trump the benefit of the doubt on stuff, but I’m giving it to him on this.
During a Sunday appearance on InfoWars with Alex Jones, a conspiratorial media outlet that has become a mouthpiece of the next president, Stone called Romney a “choker” and said that Trump was simply toying with him.
“Donald Trump was interviewing Mitt Romney for Secretary of State in order to torture him,” Stone claimed on the program. “To toy with him. And given the history, that’s completely understandable. Mitt Romney crossed a line. He didn’t just oppose Trump, which is his democratic right, he called him a phony and a fraud. And a con man. And that’s not the kind of man you want as Secretary of State.”…
“It’s always kind of tickled me, Romney struggled to carry Ohio and they poured millions and millions,” the former Nixon dirty trickster declared. “Trump carried Ohio easily, despite the opposition of the Kasich Republican machine. It was never in doubt. He pulled out to a lead in Ohio and he never lost it. It was the one state we had in the bank.”
For his part, Stone is at least trying to influence the selection process by vocally supporting and opposing prospective cabinet picks through a medium preferred by Trump: media interview.
As chance would have it, news is breaking tonight:
Scoop: Trump called Romney to tell him he's not getting post, I'm told.
Pres-elect expressed nothing but respect for him in recent days.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) December 13, 2016
I’ve read damn near every piece written about Trump’s consideration of Romney at State, I’d imagine, and I can’t remember one offhand that quoted someone on the transition team saying that Trump was just toying with Romney. There have been plenty of outsiders quoted speculating to that effect, but no one in the know has said so. On the contrary, the whole reason Kellyanne Conway went public in attacking Mitt, it seems, is because she and Steve Bannon feared Trump really might choose him for the State job. Reince Priebus, Mike Pence, and the highly influential Jared Kushner supposedly liked the idea. This story at the Boston Globe quoted an unnamed transition official as saying Trump’s interest in Romney was sincere and Trump himself said the same in interviews, even going so far as to note that he gave as good as he got in his feud with Romney in order to make Romney’s current predicament less awkward.
If it was all an elaborate plot to humiliate Romney to be capped by Trump declaring that he never really considered him seriously for the position, when does Trump or his team reveal that? If all they do is name Rex Tillerson or John Bolton to the post while continuing to claim that Romney was a real contender, that’s not much of a humiliation. And if the endgame was to get Romney to finally issue a demeaning apology to Trump for the cutting things he said during the campaign, that failed too. He even hedged in what he said to the press after his dinner with Trump in Manhattan, saying of their meetings that they “give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future.” He hopes Trump will be the leader America needs — but he’s not quite convinced yet. Romney might well have said the same thing after a simple goodwill visit with Trump even if no job in the administration had been mentioned. If that’s the sum of the humiliation here, with Romney saying something blandly optimistic about the new Republican president while ending up as one of the final two or three candidates for the State job, ahead of Trump loyalist Rudy Giuliani, I think he’ll survive.
Stone was probably just doing damage control for Trump. The InfoWars audience loves Trump and hates Romney, so Stone reassured them that this was all just a grand goof on Mitt as revenge for his insolence during the campaign. Stone might have been playing Conway’s game too, fearing that Trump really was down to Romney, Tillerson, and maybe one or two others for the State job and trying to box him in by painting the idea of choosing Romney as so ridiculous that it could only be part of a revenge plot. We already have proof that the Romney family isn’t too establishment for the populist Trump to consider them for top positions: Mitt’s niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is reportedly Trump’s choice for new RNC chair. If you’re looking for a half-assed theory about Trump wooing Romney, that’s probably a better bet than the “humiliation” theory. Maybe Trump is hoping to integrate the Romney donor network into his own political efforts and he didn’t want Uncle Mitt standing in the way. So he made peace.
By the way:
I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Here’s a Bloomberg report from earlier today claiming that Tillerson is indeed the frontrunner for State. That’s going to be some confirmation hearing. Exit question: If Trump’s just been toying with Romney, why not reveal it now? Why continue to maintain the supposed illusion that he was being considered?