This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
In a perfect world, former Republican presidential nominee and one-term Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would have been a shoo-in for a Cabinet post in the new Donald Trump administration. But it seems blind ambition along with primary election shenanigans anybody but Trump may have been his Waterloo.
An anti-Trump speech Romney delivered at the University of Utah last March created more than a rival. In the words of a leading Trump partisan, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani,"There is always a team of rivals, and then there is also the team of enemies. Romney was in the latter camp."
Perhaps at no other time in American politics has a major party's nominee spoken so unkindly about his successor.
So it was with shock and bemusement that Trump summoned Romney to an early post-election transition meeting with word that he was being considered for secretary of state. Three weeks later, and following one embarrassing spectacle after another, Romney was passed over in favor of ExxonMobil's CEO, Rex Tillerson.
If Romney was indeed truthful in his earlier Utah speech he never would have pushed so aggressively to be our nation's top diplomat. Why would he work for a man who has, in Romney's own words, "neither the temperament or judgment to be president," whose foreign policy is "very, very not smart"?
A recent article in The New Yorker stated, "Romney's critics point to his past flip-flops on such issues as abortion and gay marriage as evidence that when a deeply held belief comes up against Romney's ambition, ambition always wins." The article further stated that, had he been selected for secretary of state, "he would have to work with, and act as a global emissary for, someone who ... has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president."
The true Trumpers would not tolerate Romney in their midst. Millions of his supporters gave everything they had as did Hillary Clinton's for her without the extreme vitriol introduced by Romney.
Only history will reveal the motives behind this bizarre odyssey, but one thing is certain, the Mitt of old shapeshifter, man of unbridled ambition and remake artist was on full display. The best case for Romney would have been remaining consistent to his anti-Trump screed and eventually acting as a check on the new president's hubris.
That opportunity has now given way to a sold soul and a lesson for the history books worthy of Shakespeare.