Mitt Romney had only words of effusive praise for President-elect Donald Trump after dinner with him in New York Tuesday.
“These discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging,” the 2012 GOP nominee told reporters outside the Jean Georges restaurant Nougatine, a restaurant in the Trump hotel at Central Park West. “I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump.”
Admitting that Mr. Trump had succeeded in doing something he had been “unsuccessful in,” Romney said, “He won the general election and he continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way.”
Romney also said he was “impressed” by the transition effort and said of the Cabinet members announced so far that they “are solid, effective, capable people.” Wilbur Ross is expected to be named commerce secretary, and earlier Tuesday, the transition team announced Elaine Chao will be transportation secretary and Rep. Tom Price will be health and human services secretary. Romney knows Price and said they had talked about health care. “What an expert and solid thinker in that arena and others,” Romney said of the Georgia congressman.
“Jeff Sessions is someone who I knew through my campaigns, helped me very early on, he has a distinguished record in the Senate,” Romney said of the attorney general nominee.
Romney did not acknowledge the things he has said about Mr. Trump in the past, that he has called him a “phony” and a “fraud,” a “con man,” a “fake.” In a speech in March, aimed solely at derailing Mr. Trump’s presidential candidacy, Romney said that his “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
And he also mocked Mr. Trump on foreign policy.
“Now, Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart,” Romney said. “I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.”
Mr. Trump, Reince Priebus and Romney ate well -- appetizers included young garlic soup, frog legs, and diver scallops. All three had red meat -- prime sirloin for Priebus and Mr. Trump and lamb chops for Romney. All three had chocolate cake.
Romney seemed to suggest that he had undergone a post-election conversion about the president-elect. Mr. Trump’s victory speech and those people he’s made a part of his transition, Romney said -- “all of those things combined give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future.”