Romney met privately with Bill Kristol, who's leading the effort to draft an independent candidate

“He came pretty close to being elected president, so I thought he may consider doing it, especially since he has been very forthright in explaining why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should not be president of the United States,” Kristol said in a phone interview Friday, during which he confirmed that he and Romney had a “little meeting in Washington.”

But knowing Romney’s reluctance, Kristol told Romney that if he remains unwilling to run, many top conservatives would appreciate having the former Massachusetts governor’s support for an independent candidate, should Kristol and other right-leaning figures enlist a willing contender.

“Obviously, if there were to be an independent candidacy, Romney’s support would be very important,” Kristol said. “I wanted to get his wisdom on whether it was more or less doable than I thought.”

“It was not like, ‘You should do it.’ I wouldn’t presume he’d do it. But I’m hoping that he begins to think about it a little more,” Kristol said. “His name is one of the names that is part of the discussion.”