Plenty of Republicans have pulled complete reversals on Donald Trump, with most of them coming after he won the GOP presidential nomination. We've documented them on this blog. Marco Rubio called Trump a “con man” and then supported him. Ted Cruz called him a “sniveling coward” and a “serial philanderer” and eventually came around. Chris Christie dismissed him as the “entertainer in chief” and said he would be worse than President Obama. Then Christie became Trump's first high-profile GOP supporter.
Their excuses for saying these things are that they were once Trump's opponents in the presidential race.
Mitt Romney doesn't have that excuse.
No, Trump's potential secretary of state pick made impassioned pleas for Americans to reject Trump, even though he wasn't running himself and didn't have to weigh in. And he denounced Trump in no uncertain terms even long after Trump became the GOP nominee. Just a month before Trump was elected president, here's what Romney said about that “Access Hollywood” video that The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold uncovered:
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Romney's reversal on Trump, in other words, is more brazen, more convenient and harder to explain than the others. Not only is he supporting the duly elected soon-to-be-president of the United States, he's volunteering himself to stand alongside Trump as the United States' “face to the world." (For more on their mending of fences, do read Michael Kranish's piece.)
And in a statement delivered after the two dined together on Tuesday night, Romney sought to rewrite some history when it comes to his many cautions against allowing this allegedly dangerous man to become president.
Below is his full statement, with our annotations and analysis.
I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump. We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world, and these discussions I've had with him have been enlightening and interesting and engaging. I've enjoyed them very, very much.
I was also very impressed by the remarks he made on his victory night. By the way, it's not easy winning. I know that myself. He did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in. 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.
The last few weeks he's been carrying on a transition effort, and I can tell you I've been impressed by what I've seen in the transition effort. The people he's selected as members of his Cabinet are solid, effective, capable people. Some of them I know very well. Nikki Haley and I go way back. She's an outspoken, strong, powerful leader. Tom Price is someone who actually came to my office before he had run for Senate and we spent time talking about healthcare. What an expert and solid thinker in that arena and others. Jeff Sessions is someone who I knew through my campaigns, helped me very early on, he has a distinguished record in the Senate. And, of course many others, Betsy DeVos and a long list of people, very impressive individuals.
I happen to think that America's best days are ahead of us. I think you're going to see America continue to lead the world in this century. And what I've seen through these discussions I've had with President-elect Trump, as well as what we've seen in his speech the night of his victory, as well as the people he's selected as part of his transition, 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. Thank you.