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Trump: Meeting with Romney went ‘great’

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence pause for photographs as they arrive at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., today.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. >> Mitt Romney said he had a “far-reaching conversation” with President-elect Donald Trump.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee met privately with Trump for about an hour today at Trump’s private golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Romney told reporters afterward that the two had a “very thorough and in-depth discussion” and said he appreciated “the chance to speak with” Trump.

Romney did not respond to questions about whether he would consider joining the administration.

Trump walked Romney out at the end of the meeting and said “it went great.”

The sit-down comes after an acrimonious election year. Romney was a harsh critic of Trump, calling him a “con man.” Trump called Romney a “choke artist” because of his loss to President Barack Obama. Trump and Romney have been trying to mend fences since then.

Trump will meet Sunday with two leading supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

On Friday, Trump picked Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA, signaling a sharp rightward shift in U.S. security policy as he begins to form his Cabinet.

Trump also named retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. A former military intelligence chief, Flynn has accused the Obama administration of being too soft on terrorism and has cast Islam as a “political ideology” and driver of extremism.

The selections form the first outlines of Trump’s Cabinet and national security teams. Given his lack of governing experience and vague policy proposals during the campaign, his selection of advisers is being scrutinized both in the U.S. and abroad.

Trump’s initial decisions suggest a more aggressive military involvement in counterterror strategy and a greater emphasis on Islam’s role in stoking extremism. Sessions, who is best known for his hardline immigration views, has questioned whether terrorist suspects should benefit from the rights available in U.S. courts. Pompeo has said Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in attacks if they do not denounce violence carried out in the name of Islam.

Pompeo’s nomination to lead the CIA also opens the prospect of the U.S. resuming torture of detainees. Trump has backed harsh interrogation techniques that President Barack Obama and Congress have banned, saying the U.S. “should go tougher than waterboarding,” which simulates drowning. In 2014, Pompeo criticized Obama for “ending our interrogation program” and said intelligence officials “are not torturers, they are patriots.”

Sessions and Pompeo would both require Senate confirmation; Flynn would not.

In a separate matter Friday, it was announced that Trump had agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors. The lawsuits alleged the school misled students and failed to deliver on its promises in programs that cost up to $35,000.

Trump has denied the allegations and had said repeatedly he would not settle. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who announced the settlement, called it “a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.”

Trump tweeted to his 15 million followers Saturday that he only settled to better focus on leading the U.S.

On Friday night, Pence became the latest celebrity to attend the Broadway hit show “Hamilton” — but he was the first to get a direct message from a cast member from the stage.

Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president, recited a message from the stage: “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.” He went on: “We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us.”

Pence’s appearance at the show was tense from the outset, drawing cheers and boos as he arrived. Pence ducked out before Dixon finished but heard the rest of the remarks in the hallway.

Trump is still weighing a range of candidates for other leading national security posts. Possibilities for secretary of state are said to Giuliani, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who met with Trump on Thursday.

Most of Trump’s nominees are expected to be confirmed relatively easily given the GOP majority in the Senate. However, potential roadblocks exist, particularly for Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump and one of the chamber’s most conservative members.

His last Senate confirmation hearing, in 1986 for a federal judgeship, was derailed over allegations that he made racist comments, including calling a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” in conversation. Sessions denied the accusation, but withdrew from consideration.

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Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Mark Kennedy, Errin Whack, Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin, Stephen Braun, Robert Burns and Jack Gillum and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Jonathan Lemire at http://twitter.com/JonLemire

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  • Trump is reaching out to people friends and foes to come up with solutions, unlike Obama who made Hilliary his Secretary of State. Big mistake, first and one of many.

    • Do you think he should include Romney? On the right-leaning sites I look at, people leave comments saying Romney’s nothing more than a “RINO” and that Trump should have nothing to do with him.

      • Selecting Romney as Secretary of State would be a brilliant move for Trump for several reasons. One reason is that Romney is extremely well-versed on foreign affairs and is perhaps better qualified than most potential candidates. I did not say all; I said most. Another is that bringing Romney into the Trump administration will help heal the divide within the Republican Party and make it more united and stronger. And perhaps more importantly, Trump is looking ahead to reelection if four years and having the support of Romney and Romney’s conservative base will improve Trump’s chances of being reelected. I think it is part of Trump’s Grand Strategic Plan.

    • IRT LesPark, agree with your post. You begin to get the “feeling” that President-Trump is bringing the Country together. Some 60 days out, and the general feeling of the American economy has begun to move in a positive direction. We must gain confidence in ourselves and take back our Country to make America great again. Did you read about all that Federal Administrative Rules that take our rights and freedoms away. They must all be repealed.

    • Lespark, I do not believe it was a big mistake for Obama to select Hillary as Secretary of State. It was a big mistake for America but not for Obama. I believe he selected her because he feared she would challenge him in the 2012 election and that making her Secretary of State would greatly lessen the chances of her doing so. I think he played his cards right on this one.

  • Non-supporters of Trump are acting like they are the enemies of our country with their rude conducts. Why mess with an audience of the show? Vice-President elect or not, he is part of the audience hoping to be entertain and not to be picked on. Bullish behavior ! Auwe!

  • I’ve noticed the AP et al, never point out that the “racist” Sen. Sessions as US atty. successfully prosecuted the KKK, drove them out of Alabama, and saw to it the klansman was eventually executed for murder.
    Sessions was also one of the few senators who endorsed “not my peeps” Eric Holder for atty. gen. a decision I did not agree with.

    • “One of the few senators” who endorsed (sic) Mr. Holder?

      Did you complete third grade arithmetic? How many senators are required to confirm the Attorney General? Hint: It’s more than a few.

      • Klastri, welcome back from your days of mourning Hillary being buried in the Trump landslide. I amvery happy for your loss. Lighten up and don’t act so smart. You know BlueEyedWhitDevil meant Republican senators.

      • Maybe the Indians want their country back that was stolen by the white man who brought nothing but disease just like they did to the Hawaiians. You need to think before you insert your foot in your mouth.

      • “The white people want their country back, what’s wrong with that”? That’s so amazingly offensive, on so many levels. One, the hypocrisy, as aomahoa pointed out; whites stole this country from others who were living there first. Second, we’re not a “white” country, we’re a multi-cultural country. We had come some ways to accepting that, as opposed to earlier, uglier eras where landlords posted signs saying “No Irish” or “No Italians”; those nationalities are also white, after all. Third, we won’t be a white country much longer; from about mid-century on whites will be in the minority. And I doubt the US will become like the old S Africa, w/a white, elite minority.

        Ah well, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • IRT 808Cindy, why are you embarrassed when President-elect Trump received 306 electoral votes? Are embarrassed for the voters from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Indiana? For me, President-elect Trump is a very special blessing for the United States of America.

  • If you feel the country is coming together then we should stop the kind of the kind of conversations we having on this site. Just pray that the POTUS will be successful in doing all that he said he’ll do. No need to keep flinging insults and innuendos. Grow up America!
    BTW, I never felt America was anything but GREAT, no matter.
    If there were Administrative Rules that took away our freedoms then the courts would have nullified them.

    • Thankfully, a lot of people hope he’s going to fail at things he campaigned about. Success for Mr. Trump would be disastrous for the United States. He’s a psychotic.

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