Kellyanne Conway, who was President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, publicly made the case on Sunday against Trump picking Mitt Romney as secretary of state.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Conway about comments the campaign manager has made casting aspersions on the former Massachusetts governor’s candidacy for the top diplomatic post. Conway had said that Trump supporters did not like the idea of nominating Romney, because of his fierce opposition to Trump’s presidential bid.
But Bash suggested that Conway was personally opposed to Romney’s nomination as well.
“You’re not wrong to say that,” Conway said. “Because Gov. Romney went out of his way ― I also think it is Donald Trump who has shown he has political instincts. You know, Gov. Romney ran for the same office four years ago and lost spectacularly.”
Conway went on to question Romney’s qualifications for the job of secretary of state.
“Gov. Romney for the past four years ― has he been around the globe doing something for the United States of which we are unaware? Did he go and intervene in Syria where they are having a massive humanitarian crisis?” she asked rhetorically.
And Conway reiterated that Trump’s grass-roots supporters were especially concerned about the prospect of a Romney nomination ― even as she said she would respect the president-elect’s decision one way or another.
“What Donald Trump decides, Kellyanne Conway and everybody else will respect. It’s just the backlash from the grass-roots,” Conway said. “You have people saying, ‘Hey, my parents died penniless but I gave $216 to Donald Trump’s campaign and I would feel betrayed.’”
After the interview, Conway said on Twitter that she had conveyed her concerns to Trump in private as well.
Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff and the outgoing Republican National Committee chair, downplayed differences among advisers about Romney’s nomination. He refused to comment on his own views about Romney.
“It isn’t a matter of warfare. I mean, there’s a lot of opinions about this. And yes, it is a sort of team of rivals concept if you were to go toward the Gov. Romney concept, but I think that should tell all Americans” that Trump is committed to uniting the country in the wake of the fractious election, Priebus told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
Priebus also refused to say whether Romney would have to apologize for his harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign.
“I’m not gonna do the play-by-play, Chris, on what things are going to be required or where things are at,” Priebus said.
In addition to Romney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a top contender for the position. Trump is also reportedly considering former Gen. John Kelly, the former head of the United States’ Southern Command.