- Romney was so serious about the posting, he discussed it with Hillary Clinton
- He spoke at the Experts and Enthusiasts, or E2 Summit
In a previously unreported conversation, Romney mentioned that he spoke with Clinton, a fellow Trump critic on the other side of the aisle -- during the time he was being considered for the top diplomat job.
"I spoke with virtually all the former secretaries of state," Romney said here at the Experts and Enthusiasts, or E2, Summit, which brings together high-profile Republicans who are close to Romney. "I spoke with Secretary Clinton, and in each case, each of them said: 'Please, please take that job,' if it's offered to you. We would very much like to see you serve in that capacity."
Clinton was secretary of state during President Barack Obama's first term and lost to Trump in the 2016 election, and the conversation between her and Romney would have taken place when the wounds from the presidential race remained raw.
The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee said that he was "shocked" to receive the invitation to be considered in the first place. Romney recalled receiving a call out of the blue from Vice President-elect Mike Pence when Romney was golfing in Hawaii, asking if he'd like to be considered.
"I would have accepted the job had he asked me to do it," he said.
But he added that he felt the eventual choice, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, better meshed with Trump's foreign policy views: "I probably was not the right person to have the job -- in part because of how far apart we were."
"We saw things very differently on the foreign policy front," Romney said. "I though that that kind of openness was very encouraging and if he was willing to have me in that position, then I would be anxious to serve."
Romney did not vote for Trump, but nevertheless indicated at the E2 Summit that he's been surprisingly pleased with the administration, saying he now agrees with Trump 70% to 80% of the time.
"We're not as far apart as I feared early on," he said.