Secretary of State Romney would be a smart move
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With President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE preparing to meet with former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney over the weekend, it is no exaggeration to suggest that leaders of our democratic allies of around the world are hoping that Trump selects Romney to be his secretary of State.

I agree.  For a variety of reasons, Romney would be an inspired choice for Foggy Bottom and I hope Trump chooses him be secretary of State, or possibly secretary of the Treasury, though the favorite for Treasury is former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin.

I have not written much, yet, about the Trump transition because it is impossible for anyone outside the small circle of his confidants to know what Trump is privately thinking or who he will choose for senior positions until they are publicly announced.

Nor have I criticized Trump for the pace of his transition, which by historic presidential standards is not behind schedule.

I would suggest today that choosing Steve Bannon for a senior White House position was a terrible move for any Americans who seek national unity and healing.  Choosing Sen. Jeff. Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general, while he will be confirmed by the Senate, is not a wise move for any Americans who believe in racial justice and national unity.

And choosing Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security adviser will send tremors across the landscape of our allies, thanks to Flynn's tendency to favor using escalated force in the Middle East and his history of seeming overly accommodating to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

By contrast, choosing Mitt Romney as secretary of State would send a signal of reassurance and resolve to our allies abroad, and would be welcomed by many Republicans as well as Democrats in the Senate and House. Romney would be one of the most highly qualified candidates for any seat in the Cabinet of any president, and would be particularly valuable for America during the presidency of Donald Trump because of his knowledge of the world, experience and policy depth.

The most important benefit of selecting Romney is that a Romney appointment would suggest that Trump understands the need to unify and reassure our European allies, and send a signal of strength to Putin that the next president would be well advised to send.

It is no secret that in recent years Putin has praised Trump, and Trump has praised Putin in return, while Putin has taken multiple aggressive actions that are hostile to the interests of America. Nor is it a secret that Putin and Russia are now waging a virtual cyberwar and infowar against America that includes aggressive and frankly successful attempts to influence the American election.

There is also a near certainty that in the coming days, weeks and months there will be more revelations from our intelligence community about Putin's attack against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE and Democrats throughout the election season.  These revelations will embarrass the next American president and embolden the Russian dictator.

It is impossible to ascertain how serious Trump is about the possibility of naming Romney secretary of State. Let’s hope it happens.

During the 2012 presidential debates with President Obama, Romney took the very strong position that Obama did not sufficiently appreciate or respond to the security threat to America from Putin and Russia.  Romney was right, and Obama was wrong, on that issue at that time.

From Romney's point of view, America needs to be tougher with Putin, not even more accommodating, than Obama has been. From Trump's point of view, he would send a signal to our allies, our military, Congress and Putin that he wants better relations with Russia but will take a tough negotiating position that any commander in chief should take to defend our security.


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

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