“I just told him that I know how things go,” she explained: “Every single time Secretary of State Mitt Romney would have deplaned in a foreign country … they would go to the B-roll of him in front of the orange-and-white background, mocking Trump Water, Trump Steaks, Trump’s character, his integrity, his message—him. And that would never have gone away, and he deserves better.”
Romney dined with Trump in New York and gave a public statement that seemed to retract his previous concerns and expressed confidence in the president-elect. Nonetheless, he was passed over. Trump chose Rex Tillerson, the ExxonMobil CEO, for the post instead.
“Judas Iscariot got 30 pieces of silver; Mitt Romney got a dish of frog legs at Jean-Georges. And even at that, it was the appetizer portion,” a high-ranking White House official told me. “We’ve sort of taken out his larynx—how can he criticize [Trump] now?”
The episode was, Conway said, an example of her method: operating “dimensionally,” not “linearly,” to get results. She pointed to a dinner where Trump told a group of diplomats that Tillerson was “a man that I wanted right from the beginning.” In the end, Conway hadn’t just gotten her way. She had made the president think it was his idea all along.