President-elect Donald Trump is expected to meet with one of his most vocal Republican detractors this weekend — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to Trump’s transition aides.
Asked about reports that Trump and the former 2012 Republican presidential nominee were scheduled to meet, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, “We’re working on it,” adding that the transition team was “happy to have his [Romney’s] support.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who is under consideration for a number of cabinet positions, including secretary of state, was asked to weigh in on media reports that Romney is also being considered for secretary of state.
“I think Mr. Romney will be quite capable of doing a number of things,” Sessions said.
The meeting will put the GOP rivals face-to-face after a campaign season spent trading barbs. Romney, who did not endorse Trump for president, was a vocal opponent of Trump’s candidacy, calling him a “con man” and a “fraud” in a March speech. Trump often labeled Romney a failure for losing to President Barack Obama in 2012.
Romney extended an olive branch last Sunday by calling Trump to offer his congratulations. Trump on Twitter described the call as “very nice!”
Sessions, a Trump supporter who has been a constant presence at Trump Tower in the past week, told reporters he believed it was “good” that the two rivals were planning to meet.
Trump spent most of Thursday at his namesake Manhattan tower, meeting with prospective cabinet members and national security advisers, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The Associated Press reported Thursday night that Trump had offered retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the job of national security adviser. A senior Trump aide could not confirm whether Flynn, a military adviser to Trump’s campaign, had accepted the role.
Flynn, who spoke to a crowd of Nassau elected officials and civic leaders in Old Bethpage on Wednesday night, is a three-star general and critic of the Obama administration, who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014.
Trump was scheduled to meet privately Thursday evening with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Rogers, retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane, and FedEx CEO Fred Smith were among those on Trump’s meeting roster.
Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller described Trump’s list of prospective cabinet members as “top-shelf people” and said the president-elect would not rush to announce his selections.
“There’s not an arbitrary time table, it’s about getting it right,” Miller told reporters in a Thursday morning press briefing.
Trump’s transition team also announced Thursday that the president-elect will ban registered lobbyists from serving in his administration. He will also require his administration officials to sign a “lobbying ban form” that bars them working as lobbyists for five-years after leaving their federal posts, and prohibits them from ever lobbying on behalf of a foreign government upon leaving office.
“The focus of this is to ensure that service to the nation comes first, and the ability to enrich one’s self is not at the heart of” joining the administration, said transition Spokesman Sean Spicer in a Thursday call with reporters.
The lobbying restrictions come after Trump faced scrutiny for stacking his initial transition team with lobbyists and D.C. insiders, the majority of which were brought on under former transition chairman Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Vice-President-elect Mike Pence last week replaced Christie as chairman, and the transition team has since undergone a series of staff changes.