Patterico's Pontifications


Is Trump Trying to Humiliate Romney, or Choose Him . . . or Both?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

The mystery in Donald Trump’s vetting of Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State has seemed to come down to one question: Is Trump trying to humiliate Romney, or does he actually want him as Secretary of State?

Maybe the answer is: both.

Does Trump actually want Romney? Maybe! He “looks the part” — plus, what better way is there for Trump to show Romney who is the alpha male? As for the “apology” Trump is supposedly demanding, Trump may be savvy enough to know that he doesn’t need to demand it. The first time Secretary of State Romney faces questioners from Big Media, they’ll ask him: Hey, didn’t you say “Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark”? Didn’t you call him an unstable bully? And Romney will have to smile and squirm and kind of walk it back, a little.

So yeah, maybe Trump does want Romney after all.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not trying to humiliate him.

Part of my evidence for the theory that Trump was trying to embarrass Romney was my belief that Conway had permission to “go rogue.” As I said yesterday: “I don’t think Kellyanne Conway breathes without instructions.” As noted earlier this morning by Dan Spencer, the Trump campaign has confirmed that Conway asked permission before laying into Romney publicly. The New York Times has further details:

Mr. Trump, in a statement emailed Monday evening by his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said: “Kellyanne came to me and asked whether or not she could go public with her thoughts on the matter. I encouraged her to do so. Most importantly she fully acknowledged there is only one person that makes the decision. She has always been a tremendous asset and that will continue.”

But wait! Who really wrote that statement?

The NYT claims that Conway took the initiative and did not act on specific instructions from Trump to criticize Romney. She asked permission to express her concerns and he granted it . . . or so the Trump folks say. And that may be — but just because they make the claim, doesn’t mean it’s true. These people lie as easily as they breathe.

At a minimum, let’s just say that Trump . . . was not displeased to see one of his main critics trashed on “the shows.”

The Times claims that “little in Mr. Trump’s universe is simple.” Perhaps there is a more complex answer to the question: Does Trump really want Romney, or does he just want Romney to be humiliated? Maybe the answer is a little of both.

But maybe the answer is simple after all. Maybe, as with so many areas of public policy, the answer is that Trump has no idea what he wants.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

65 Responses to “Is Trump Trying to Humiliate Romney, or Choose Him . . . or Both?”

  1. Sometimes Trump, like Dogberry, “is too cunning to be understood.”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  2. Are we still taking haberman’s account seriously, how about a post on tom price, or is this just a feint fir single payer, sheesh.

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. Conway did have permission, but that could be only because Trump wants her to feel free to voice criticism, because I think he thinks, normally, you get the truth from women, and he doesn’t want do anything to stop her.

    The overall way Trump s running his nascent administration has been compared to….

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    …whose White House also had this kind of chaos.

    Because FDR also didn’t understand the details of many things.

    Sammy Finkelman (a1f34f)

  4. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called a press conference, but it wasn’t to say he was leaving the tranistion, or that he was being appointed Secretary of Transportation, but that he was going to commence a renovation of the New Jersey state house.

    He didn’t take any questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (a1f34f)

  5. So its like a hazing.

    narciso (d1f714)

  6. Trump’s tweets serve two purposes:

    1. They engage his fan base. They love the red meat he throws them.

    2. It trolls the establishment. They go absolutely head-explody every time, fact-checking and refuting and all the things people do when trolled. Sometimes they even realize it, but can’t help themselves.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  7. Well ignoring Aaron Blake is a better bet,

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. Seema verma is an interesting choice for cms

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. All the news that fits.

    The New York Times was a Castro fan when Castro wasn’t cool.
    They’ve only gotten worse since the fifties.

    And yet they’re Pat’s go to source for all things truthy.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  10. As Buckley put it, they got him his job, they were stalin’s press agent with duranty, Shirley Christian kept the desk solid during the Salvadoran days,

    narciso (d1f714)

  11. I’ll buy a direct quote from a source like miller, but voices relayed by the rizzotto tray carrier, Shirley.

    Put it another way, did anyone bet on price or varna?

    narciso (d1f714)

  12. Yet another good appointment: Rep. Tom Price to HHS.

    I like the appointment of Mrs. McConnell too, cynical though it may be.

    Good on ideology (Price); good on strategy (Elaine Chao).

    Most pols are short-sighted incompetents who choose to surround themselves with familiar yes-men. The last three presidents all did this. What a refreshing change.

    I’m now beginning to think that Trump may become a Reagan-like president who delegates authority to smart, competent managers and doesn’t try to micro-manage. His choices so far give me reason for hope.

    As to the topic of this thread, perhaps Trump can’t find any truly outstanding candidate for what is a very important job and is having trouble deciding which JV player best fits the bill? Trump has been doing such a good job with appointees, in general, I’m inclined to cut him some slack on this one.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  13. “We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to.

    There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.”

    –~- Barack Hussein Obama

    papertiger (c8116c)

  14. We’ll know soon enough what Trump really wants to do with Romney. The drama he’s created gives him lots of maneuvering room to do whatever he wants. When all is said and done it wouldn’t surprise me to see someone else at the State Department while Romney is offered a job as ambassador to someplace like China or Russia.

    crazy (d3b449)

  15. Conway is theatre. Dan Quayle guest-starred this afternoon w/a visit as well.

    The Chairman of the Board is filling seats at the conference table. Who does he want in his boardroom: loyalists who will carry out his directives. That’s Petraeus and Giuliani, especially if he plans to run foreign policy from within the WH a la Nixon/Kissinger. If he wants mere window dressing at State to ‘look the part,’ a la William Rogers, he’ll go with Romney and Corker.

    But in this millionaire pissing contest, the winning move for Romney would be to get asked by Trump, then leak he turned him down, flat. Unless, of course, Romney has plans t run again in the future.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. Can’t help but notice in that staged Twitter pix -(blocking the reflection of the photographer and wondering who puts hats down neatly w/t peaks pointing away from you on a cluttered desk)- that there’s nothing in the President-elect’s in-box. Or his out-box.

    But it’s a helluva good ad for Apple. The Prsident-elect using one of their laptops– likely assembled in CHI-na.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  17. Trump wants Romney. Foreign policy is somewhere that you want a steady hand. So, he’ll pick some fire-breathers for domestic posts and Romney for State.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  18. Most pols are short-sighted incompetents who choose to surround themselves with familiar yes-men. The last three presidents all did this. What a refreshing change.

    You want some high-competent people, confident of their place, who are not afraid to tell the President he’s full of sh1t. That can be take to a my-way-or-the-highway extreme, as Al Haig did, but you need people who know what they are doing and are not beholden to the President for their future.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  19. Thor — that’s exactly how he runs his businesses. He is “hands off” almost to a fault — he holds final decision authority on all the major stuff, but his decisions are made with input from all the top executives who are personally involved in a given project.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  20. SENATOR MIKE LEE: Conservatives Should Embrace Principled Populism.

    “For all the challenges a President Trump may present conservatives during his term, his populism need not be one of them. Far from contradictory, conservatism and populism complement each other in ways that can change history — as did the most successful populist in recent decades, Ronald Reagan.”

    Colonel Haiku (fa3dba)

  21. Looks like Goldman-Sachs retains control of Treasury. I was hoping for a JPM pick for a little variety.

    Rick Ballard (d17095)

  22. The former BB&T guy, John Allison, would have been interesting. Maybe we’ll see him at the FED.

    crazy (d3b449)

  23. Mnuchin was more involved in film financing through dune PAC, like man ke American sniper and man from uncle, like bannon not a typical member of the vampire squid crew

    narciso (d1f714)

  24. How can this do anything but hurt Romney, whether or not he is chosen? Either Romney doesn’t make the final cut and is permanently mocked as a “loser” by Trump and his supporters, or he becomes Trump’s foreign policy fall guy for as long as Trump decides to keep him around. Every mistake will be Romney’s and Trump will take credit for every success.

    DRJ (15874d)

  25. The last two Secretaries of State have been John Forbes Kerry and Hillary Rotten Clinton.
    I’d say that whomever the Mr Donald chooses will be an improvement.
    We’re going to make America greater than it would have been had that nasty Hillary woman won the election.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  26. You have BinaryChoice-itis.

    DRJ (15874d)

  27. If he blew off Trump, he’d appear to be thin skinned and not a team player. Trump would appear to be the the bigger man, letting bygones be bygones. Romney has got to play the game.

    Besides, Trump has good work to offer and Romney is a bit young to retire.

    It makes sense to me.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  28. Narciso,

    Goldie Mnuchin is a second generation squid. He and his father account for about 50 years of squiddyness. At least there’s the huge diversity generated by the fact he’s a Yale grad.

    Rick Ballard (d17095)

  29. he was good at picking what seemed to be risky projects, and bring them to fruition,

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. Every mistake will be Romney’s and Trump will take credit for every success.

    Well, that will certainly be the sycophants’ line. But it’s usually not hard to tell. Shultz and Reagan made pretty good team, but no one ever thought the tactics were Reagan’s, just the goals.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  31. now I don’t get the quayle play, he was on the board of Cerberus, the hedge fund that had a large position in gm, so commerce, federal trade commission,

    narciso (d1f714)

  32. how can they be humiliated if they are not aware of it,

    narciso (d1f714)

  33. pervy Mitt Romney’s so disgusting why would you need to do humiliate on him

    he’s intoxicated on the smell of his own farts

    look weirdo you’re simply not that relevant

    you never have been your whole perverted creepy life

    god i hate him

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  34. “He was only elected three weeks ago and I’m ALREADY exhausted!” – Jonathan Caphart, Washington Post, MSNBC ‘Hardball’ 11/29/16

    The poor dear.

    Love it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  35. @20. Mike who???? Oh that Mike Lee:

    Sen. Mike Lee calls for Trump to step down | TheHill

    Oct 8, 2016 – “I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside,” Lee said.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  36. #36: That’s OK, McConnell will reinstate the nominee filibuster.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  37. Trump nominates Goldy Sacky man as Treasury Secretary.

    happyfeet hardest hit.

    Of course i was saying that was going to happen, but the useful idiots didn’t care.

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (2ab6f6)

  38. if the food stampers eject their filthy pelosi tomorrow and we’re still stuck with feckless chamberpot homo mcconnell

    they kinda win that round don’t they

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  39. Mr. Mnuchin’s a reformed sacky hello (he ain’t no heidi)

    he walked away and made an honest life for himself

    but he still knows all their sleazy sacky tricks

    which, we need someone like that right now

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. Scorpion, frog. He can’t help it, it’s his nature.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. If he does choose Romney, announce it, then go on this ego-recharging, intoxicating ‘victory tour,’ Trump’s likely to get an earful of ‘boos’ from the crowd, swallow hard and finally experience a hangover.

    ‘Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.’ – WC Fields

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. hatefulfeet wrote (#42):

    if the food stampers eject their filthy pelosi tomorrow and we’re still stuck with feckless chamberpot homo mcconnell

    they kinda win that round don’t they

    Your man Trump not only picked someone from Goldman Sachs to be SecTreas, he picked Sen. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, for Transportation. She was SecLabor for Bush-43 after also serving in the Bush-41 administration.

    My guess is that Trump doesn’t give a flying fig about the Department of Transportation, but someone — Pence or Conway — engineered this deal specifically as a rapprochement, a new detente, between Trump and the Senate GOPe folks. So much for draining any swamps — Trump’s just going to recycle the swamp water and put his brand name on it so he can charge us more for it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  43. +1 for the “no space in ‘Kellyanne,’ btw — that’s sufficiently funny I can even forgive the fact that it was tweeted.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  44. Trump contributed money to Clinton and Schumer, Goldie Mnuchin gave to Obama, Kerry and Gore. He was partnered with Soros at least part of the time so there’s a decent rationale for his generosity.

    Time for more sippy cup banging, Don Trumpy. Get the suckers to howlin’ and growlin’ again.

    Rick Ballard (d17095)

  45. i hate elaine chao

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. mnuchin, thiel, mercer, and ross, were perhaps the only financiers on trump’s side, there’s the fellow from skybridge but he’s a minor player,

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. Looks like Carrier has tweeted a deal w/Trump-Pence to keep 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis.

    “Indiana Wants Me, Lord, I can’t go back there…” – ‘Indiana Wants Me’ R. Dean Taylor, 1970

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. Trump met with the President of Goldman-Sachs today.

    Probably about the swamp drainage project.

    Rick Ballard (d17095)

  49. I really don’t know why he’s doing this! I’m just enjoying life until the civil war and/or impeachment hearings start.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  50. You don’t have to like her to appreciate the leverage he’s buying. Maybe Ol’ Chamberpot will be more pragmatic this time around.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  51. How much harm can she do at Transportation, anyway?

    ThOR (c9324e)

  52. She sure beats Norm Mineta, and the Trumpster gets to check a second EEOC box. Good show!

    ThOR (c9324e)

  53. Looks like Carrier has tweeted a deal w/Trump-Pence to keep 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis.

    Hey Mr. Trump. I’m moving this blog to Mexico lessen you gimme lotsa crazy blog money


    Patterico (115b1f)

  54. …and I always thought vouchers/choice was a backdoor way toward busing with/without/ or in different colors than yellow re the need to accomodate “voucher-holders” in search of excess classroom capacity

    urbanleftbehind (517b2b)

  55. they planted these mines years ago, ulb, like I say she’s not the worst, michelle rhee would probably have been that,

    narciso (d1f714)

  56. Was that gravy on Romney’s nose from dinner?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. Carrier was staged for the soundbite.

    urbanleftbehind (517b2b)

  58. Mr. Mnuchin’s a reformed sacky hello (he ain’t no heidi)

    he walked away and made an honest life for himself

    but he still knows all their sleazy sacky tricks

    which, we need someone like that right now

    happyfeet (28a91b) — 11/29/2016 @ 5:23 pm

    ROFL! He’s no more a reformed sacky than Heidi is (if you believe in that garbage)

    He sure knows all their sacky tricks, and will help GLADLY help them out!

    You’ve been conned!

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (e04f50)

  59. DRJ (15874d) — 11/29/2016 @ 3:24 pm

    Every mistake will be Romney’s and Trump will take credit for every success

    When you consider who else he might name any good person offered a job probably feels compelled to take it.

    Sammy Finkelman (643dcd)

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