Mitt Romney refused to apologize publicly to President-elect Donald Trump for his campaign trail criticism while he was under consideration for secretary of state, according to a report from the Washington Post Wednesday.
Romney wasn’t an obvious choice to lead Trump’s State Department. During the presidential campaign, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” who would hurt American interests.
The Post, though, cited an unnamed “close Romney ally” who said Trump had been willing to consider Romney for the job if his former critic apologized to him publicly. Romney, the source said, refused.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told the Post that account was “completely false” and denied Trump wanted any apology from Romney. However, an unnamed “Trump friend” said the President, in the Post’s words, “enjoyed watching his dinner partner grovel” at a highly-publicized dinner at Jean-Gorges in New York, as well as afterwards when Romney complimented Trump to the waiting media gaggle.
After Romney refused to give a public apology, the Post reported Trump began to look elsewhere: Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), retired Gen. David Petraeus, and finally, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who was ultimately nominated to the post Tuesday.