This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • The man who wrote the book about presidential transitions, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, is advising Donald Trump's campaign, even though back in March, Leavitt told reporters he didn't believe Trump could win the presidency and he actively rooted for a contested convention to deny him the nomination.
Leavitt, who oversaw Mitt Romney's extensive transition planning, said "nations are vulnerable when power passes from one leader to the next" and that's why all of the candidates should be thinking seriously about what happens when President Barack Obama steps aside.
Leavitt sidestepped questions about whether his advice to the Trump campaign is a sign that he's now supporting the presumptive Republican nominee.
Instead, Leavitt praised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as an excellent choice to lead Trump's transition planning and he characterized his help as a duty to the nation.
"Those who had led previous transitions in both parties were helpful to me. I am simply continuing that tradition," said Leavitt, who runs a consulting company focused on health-care policy.
First reported by The Washington Post, Leavitt's help comes as the candidates prepare to use new laws that give them more transition resources shortly after the conventions end in late July.
When Leavitt, who served as President George W. Bush's secretary of Health and Human Services, ran Romney's 2012 transition team, he spoke to the GOP nominee weekly and hired 400 employees, who screened potential hires and drafted policy papers to create a 200 day plan, which he never had the chance to execute.
"We had built a ship, it was ready to sail, all hands were on deck, the motors were warmed up and so it was a disappointment," Leavitt said, when releasing the 138-page "Romney Readiness Project 2012: Retrospective & Lessons Learned" back in 2013.