Arch-rivals Donald Trump and Mitt Romney meet, discusse world affairs

New York: Mitt Romney, a moderate Republican, who branded Donald Trump a "con man, phony and fraud" during their election campaign, met the President-elect on Saturday and had a "far-reaching conversation" on world affairs, amid reports that he is being tipped to be the next US Secretary of State.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee and one of Trump's most vocal Republican Party critics during this year's election campaign, met privately with the President-elect for about an hour at Trump's private golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

After the meeting, Romney offered no hint as to whether he was offered or would accept a role in Trump's administration.

Romney. AP

Mitt Romney. AP

"We had a far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theaters in the world where there are interests of the United States of real significance," Romney told reporters.

"We discussed those areas, and exchanged our views on those topics – a very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had," Romney said.

"I appreciate the chance to speak with the President- elect and I look forward to the coming administration and the things that it's going to be doing," said Romney, who during the Republican primary had described Trump as a "con man" and had asked his supporters not to vote for Trump.

He had also withheld an endorsement of the 70-year-old billionaire, and slammed him a "phony, a fraud" and accused him of "playing the American public for suckers."

Trump walked Romney out at the end of the meeting and said "it went great." He did not take any questions.

It is being speculated that Trump is considering Romney for the position of Secretary of State in his administration.

For Trump, Romney would bring an immediate burst of knowledge, global credibility, sound temperament and competence to his nascent administration, CNN reported.

His selection would also be seen as a genuine gesture to bind the wounds in the Republican Party and the foreign policy establishment left over from a bitter primary campaign.

It could also open the floodgates for the kind of credible, experienced Republican foreign policy insiders who Trump needs to staff crucial, lower-ranking national security jobs, to join the administration.

And since Trump's core voters are more concerned with draining the swamp of well known Washington insiders than foreign policy, the State Department may be one place he could put an establishment figure and not sustain much political damage, it said.

"Mr Romney would be a great choice in a sense that would be a signal sent to moderates as well as conservatives,"
William Cohen, a former US defense secretary, said.

A Romney appointment would come as a great relief to US allies who are deeply anxious about the direction of Trump's foreign policy, and who see alternative names floated as potentially in the frame as secretary of state like Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton with much greater apprehension.

That is because Romney is squarely within the parameters of accepted US foreign policy orthodoxy, is an internationalist, is well known abroad, and is committed to the notion of free trade, US alliances and a robust US posture in the world, CNN reported.

Updated Date: Nov 20, 2016 16:15 PM

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