A substantial complaint against Donald Trump throughout the election cycle and even into the development of his future administration has been that he does not tolerate dissenting opinions. When the media rejected his campaign platform for its racist and xenophobic undertones, Trump claimed that the entire media industry was out to get him. He subsequently promised to strengthen libel laws from within the Oval Office, so as to ensure that opinions contradictory to his would not be disseminated with such ease. While there was this matter involving the media over the campaign trail, there is now another pressing issue regarding Trump’s inability to accept criticism. This time, however, the issue might determine the next Secretary of State.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, was a vocal Trump critic. He delivered a substantive speech during this year’s campaign season to attempt to persuade voters to reject Trump as unqualified and radically incompetent. Despite this fervent criticism, he is now being considered for Secretary of State, and this consideration is creating tensions within Trump’s transition team. Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s senior advisors and former campaign manager, has rejected Romney’s appointment to the position under the notion that she does not want vocal Trump critics wielding any power within his administration. "I'm all for party unity, but I'm not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position," she said in response to questions on the issue. She tweeted out last week that she had received a slew of complaints regarding Romney being considered for such a high level role.
This poses a serious question for the future of American presidencies. On one hand, it is valuable to reward those that contribute to the success of a campaign with roles in the candidate’s administration. On the other, it is also important to have dissenting opinions in the White House, and one’s contradictory opinions must be valued as opposed to rejected outright. To reject Romney for the sole reason that he stood against Trump in the election season is to affirm that the Trump team will not accept or tolerate opinions that differ from their own. Surely, this is problematic.
President-elect Trump is reportedly irritated that Conway has expressed her concerns for Romney’s appointment, likely as it adds an unnecessary complication to an already challenging question. For reference, in addition to Romney, Trump is choosing between Giuliani, David Petraeus, and Bob Corker.
What do you think about this question surrounding Romney as Secretary of State?