Who remembers this classic Donald Trump line from his campaign during his feud with Mitt Romney: “I don’t know what happened to him,” Trump said during a rally in Portland, Maine. “You can see how loyal he is. He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would have dropped to his knees.”
Apparently, that turned out to be true, when he was spotted meeting with Trump on numerous occasions to discuss becoming Secretary of State. It seemed unlikely that Trump would pick Romney after the two had previously feuded, and many speculated that Trump was simply stringing him along to get his hopes up. Roger Stone said as much, that Trump had interviewed Romney to “torture” him.
And why didn’t Mitt get the job? As it turns out, it may have come down to respect.
Mitt Romney refused to apologize publicly for harshly criticizing President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, possibly taking himself out of the running for secretary of state as a result.
Trump was willing to forgive the former Republican nominee for the remarks and nominate him to run the Department of State, but thought a public apology might pacify some of his aides who were not, reports CNN. But Romney reportedly refused, and Trump moved on to other possibilities for the important position, eventually landing on ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Top aides Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon viewed Romney’s criticisms of Trump to be unforgivable, and strongly opposed the idea of appointing him to run the State Department, sources familiar with the transition process told CNN.
Simply put, Trump wanted Romney to publicly apologize as a way of smoothing out the tension, an idea also supported by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.