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Transition to Trump: Establishment seeks to divide conservatives over Mitt Romney

Americans had to have known when they came out in force to vote for Donald Trump on Election Day that his administration would likely offer a sort of soap opera quality to it, but it’s doubtful many realized at the time that such drama would start well before the president-elect even took the oath of office.

The furor surrounding the potential elevation of Mitt Romney to the position of Secretary of State has many Rove Carlsonpeople in a tizzy – and from the looks of the reaction, it’s almost all negative.

To start with, Trump has apparently invited Romney back for a follow-up meeting today (they will have a private dinner tonight). Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “President-elect Trump will hold a second meeting with Mitt Romney this week to discuss the position of secretary of state, much to the chagrin of some in his circle who have said Romney is undeserving of the top diplomatic post…

“Trump's continued outreach to his former foe suggests Romney remains under active consideration to head the State Department, even as those closest to the president-elect have expressed sharp disapproval of the former GOP nominee in recent days.”

“Sharp disapproval” is an understatement. From former GOP primary rivals to conservative commentators and even trusted campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Republicans are in near full revolt over the prospect of #NeverTrumper Romney heading up Trump’s State Department.

It’s not even that they dislike the usually affable former Massachusetts governor personally. To a man (or woman), they’re upset that Romney didn’t support Trump – at all – during the president-elect’s historic run for office.

Why should Romney be rewarded for not only being disloyal but essentially rooting against the home team?

Andrew Restuccia of Politico reports, “Top advisers to President-elect Donald Trump escalated their attacks on Mitt Romney on Sunday, catapulting their long-simmering frustrations on to TV news in an extraordinary public airing of grievances…

“But some Republicans wondered aloud whether Conway's comments might be orchestrated by Trump himself as part of a campaign to embarrass Romney, noting Trump's penchant for headline-stealing public fights. Romney had called Trump ‘a con man, phony and fraud’ during the campaign.”

In addition to Conway, former Romney rivals Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee spoke out forcefully against the retired establishmentarian. Huckabee certainly remembers back to the 2008 Republican campaign when he and Mitt were both vying for the conservative vote against John McCain. Romney alienated all of his rivals that year, McCain included.

For Gingrich, he had tussles of his own against Romney in 2012. Romney had a tendency to hit below the belt during the GOP debates – and his opponents remember.

It’s clear they aren’t wild about Romney now either, especially since it looks like the former Republican nominee is just taking advantage of Trump’s recent kindness to rehabilitate his own reputation after making a goat out of himself for the past year in vocally criticizing and doubting Trump.

Or, it also could be as Restuccia suggested above -- it’s a public relations ploy to give Romney a little payback.

We can only speculate on the real reason. We won’t know for sure until Trump names a person to the position.

For now, Conway denies Trump is “furious” at her for speaking out against Romney. Louis Nelson of Politico reports, “Citing anonymous sources at the top of Trump’s transition team, MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ reported that Trump was ‘furious’ with Conway for attacking Romney in her Sunday interviews. One source told the network that ‘Kellyanne went rogue at Donald Trump’s expense’ while another said there is a growing sentiment within the transition team that Conway has been promoting her own agenda instead of the president-elect’s.

“Conway responded to MSNBC with a statement which the ‘Morning Joe’ anchors paraphrased on air. In it, the Trump senior adviser said of MSNBC’s reporting: ‘It is all false. And it is sexist.’”

I think the latter statement was made with a wink and a sly smile. Like Trump, Conway knows what she’s doing and wouldn’t say anything publicly that would put her boss in a bad light. Trump recognizes this…and so should we.

But at the same time, I’m not sure what to make of the Romney rumors. While it’s clear Trump is trying to give the impression that he’s seriously considering lots of seemingly capable candidates for his administration, it’s strange that he should be so openly courting Mitt Romney of all people.

What’s Trump going to do next? Are there going to be further overtures to his biggest detractors? Will he invite Jonah Goldberg and Kevin Williamson of National Review to run his press office? Will he ask Erick Erickson to write his speeches? Will Bill Kristol be involved in high level negotiations with foreign leaders?

I presume Trump was serious when he stated repeatedly during the campaign that Romney was a loser who bungled a winnable contest in 2012. I also believe Trump meant it when he said after the election a few weeks ago that he was going to include everyone in his administration, even those who didn’t support him.

Let’s not forget, Trump has weathered a mountain of criticism from just about every angle. Even those closest to him, with the possible exception of his family, have publicly jabbed at him at one time or another. Certainly just about everyone involved with Republican politics and who supported one of Trump’s rivals in the primaries – myself included – has said a lot of negative things about Trump.

Politics is politics. Even Jeb Bush said it ain’t beanbag. And Jeb should know.

But I also surmise that Trump is carrying on this Romney episode partly to prove to everyone that he’s still in charge. So many have questioned whether the president-elect is “overwhelmed” and subject to the whims of his closest advisors. From day one Trump conducted his campaign based largely on his own instincts. And perhaps now, those instincts are telling him to keep Romney on the line.

All most of us can do is hope Trump lets this particular fish go after he finally reels it in…

The Left’s stupid recount strategy marches into Pennsylvania

It’s safe to say the remaining fans of Hillary Clinton cheered when leftist Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced last week that she was trying to raise funds to push for a recount in Wisconsin, an effort Clinton’s campaign has joined just to ensure the voting wasn’t unduly influenced by the Russians.

Stein was able to raise big money for the proposition in Wisconsin, so much so that she’s expanded her recount calls to other states that narrowly went for Trump. She filed the paperwork in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Mallory Shelbourne of The Hill reports Stein said in a statement, “’We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system. We need to verify the vote in this and every election so that Americans of all parties can be sure we have a fair, secure and accurate voting system.’

“Stein won fewer than 50,000 votes in Pennsylvania.”

Something doesn’t smell right here. First you have Hillary Clinton repeatedly stating during the latter stages of the campaign that the results should be honored by all Americans – including Trump. Clinton then loses and Stein steps in from out of nowhere to question the final tallies in three traditionally blue states that gave Trump his margin of victory.

Further, Stein claims to have raised over $6.5 million in “small donations” to fuel her quest. That’s funny, she was only able to gather less than $3 million for the entirety of her general election run.

The Green Party is awful popular now, isn’t it?

Of course instead of reporting on these obvious abnormalities, the media would much rather focus on Donald Trump’s tweet about illegal voting activity. In case you haven’t heard, Trump said he would have won the popular vote (in addition to the Electoral vote) if illegal voters were taken out of the equation.

He’s right, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The media hoots and hollers about Trump’s illegal vote claims but utters nary a peep about the fallacy of a candidate that only won a tiny percentage of the national vote calling for recounts in three states (the other is Michigan).

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shot back at the insinuation that his state’s count was inaccurate on Monday.

Madeline Conway of Politico reports, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, defending the legitimacy of his state’s tally in the presidential election, said Monday that it is ‘hard to justify’ a recount to taxpayers…

“In a Facebook post Monday, Walker also rejected the suggestion that Wisconsin’s results were wrong. In addition to citing Donald Trump’s margin of victory there, which stands at some 22,000 votes ahead of Clinton, Walker said Wisconsin’s electoral process is ‘fair’ and ‘protected.’”

Walker cited recent improvements in elections integrity measures in his state as proof the vote was fair and legitimate. The same people pushing for the recount opposed those actions (claiming it would dampen minority turnout), but they sure are upset now!

It should be noted the Wisconsin elections commission rejected Stein’s call to recount by hand. Can you imagine the time it would take to do such a thing? For what purpose?

Taking all of this into consideration, it certainly appears as though there will be significant changes to recount procedures before the next national election. Why should it be that any candidate with a beef can raise money and drag out the process for weeks if not months?

It’s all part of the left’s larger effort to discredit Trump and his clear victory in the Electoral College. As for Stein, she’s just trying to get a paragraph mention in some future history book documenting the aftermath of this most unusual of all elections.

Karl Rove rips Kellyanne Conway over Romney controversy

As if we needed yet another sign that the Republican establishment is pushing hard to get Mitt Romney planted on the inside of the Trump administration, Karl Rove provided it on Monday, claiming that Kellyanne Conway’s public remarks on the Romney matter are making the president-elect look feeble.

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports, “GOP strategist Karl Rove says Donald Trump adviser and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is making the president-elect ‘look weak’ by publicly attacking his consideration of Mitt Romney for secretary of State.

“’This is destructive,’ Rove said Monday on Fox News. ‘This first of all suggests that Donald Trump is weak. When his inner circle, his closest advisers are publicly telling people, ‘This is the advice I gave my chief and he isn’t listening to me,’ it makes him look weak.’”

Perhaps we should all listen to Rove because if there’s anyone who knows first-hand what “looking weak” is like, it’s him. This coming from the man who pushed George W. Bush hard to do “comprehensive immigration reform” in 2007, a move that not only took away what little credibility Bush had left in his second term, it would also have meant the destruction of the Republican Party had it actually succeeded.

I’m not quite sure why Rove singled out Conway for his “weak” comments, especially when Newt Gingrich and other close Trump advisors were arguably saying much more destructive things about Romney to the media and whoever else would listen. It’s Romney who brings along a perception problem, not the good conservatives who are speaking out against him.

Rove is paid to provide an opinion and it’s understandable how he would want to rally to the defense of one of the leaders of the GOP establishment that he loves so dearly. But his behavior and lukewarm “performance” on Election Night didn’t win him many supporters as it almost seemed like he was going out of his way to dampen the true meaning of Trump’s win.

Trump won without the establishment’s help. He didn’t need Karl Rove’s advice; Rove therefore becomes even more worthless than he was before.

There’s little doubt that Donald Trump’s Republican Party is going to have a much stronger conservative influence. The days of people taking what Karl Rove says seriously are numbered, indeed.

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#NeverRomney

No one's dividing me over Romney. I would NEVER have supported Romney for Secretary of State. His personal attacks on Trump were an effort to throw the election. Since the beneficiary would have been Clinton, one can reasonably conclude that he intended to throw it to Clinton.

I do not understand Pres. Trump's consideration of the man. I don't really even want to give the President the benefit of the doubt. I do not want Romney anyplace in the government. #NeverRomney