After a dinner meeting with Donald Trump at Jean-Georges restaurant in New York, Mitt Romney delivered a glowing review of the president-elect’s leadership during the transition.
Mr. Romney, who was invited to the dinner purportedly for a follow-up interview for the job of secretary of state, described it as a “wonderful evening” and said that he was “impressed” with Mr. Trump’s handling of his upset victory in the election.
“We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging,” Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told reporters outside the restaurant.
Mr. Romney said that from what he’s seen of Mr. Trump’s leadership during the transition, he was optimistic that “America’s best days are ahead of us.”
Transition team officials characterized the second meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Romney as a chance for he two men to get better acquainted. But the follow-up interview riled Trump loyalists who oppose a Cabinet post for Mr. Romney, who attacked Mr. Trump’s character during the campaign and attempted to undermine his run.
The words of praise from Mr. Romney was the closest he’s come to retracting his sharp criticism during the campaign, which included calling Mr. Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” who was reckless and unfit for office and who would endanger America and the world.
“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,” said Mr. Romney.
“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,” he said.
They were joined at the restaurant in Trump International Hotel & Tower, which overlooks Central Park, by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, whom Mr. Trump has tapped for White House chief of staff.
The menu for the diner included an appetizer of young garlic soup with thyme and sauteed frog legs. Next they had diver scallops with caramelized cauliflower and a caper raisin emulsion, according to a pool report.
For their main course, both Mr. Trump and Mr. Priebus had prime sirloin with a citrus glaze and carrots. Mr. Romney had lamb chops with the mushroom bolognese sauce.
All three men had chocolate cake for dessert.