Apparently, all it takes for President-elect Donald Trump to get over being called a "con man," " a fake," and "a phony" is a public expression of regret — something Mitt Romney, the author of a book called No Apology, was unwilling to provide.
Several people close to Trump and Romney spoke with CNN, recounting how Romney almost became Trump's secretary of state nominee. Following the election, Romney called to offer his congratulations, and Trump brought up the idea of him being part of his Cabinet. As their conversations continued, Trump reportedly was "pleasantly surprised" with how well the two got along. Top Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon were vocal in their belief that Romney's previous comments were unforgivable, but incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus and Vice President-elect Mike Pence suggested a public apology from Romney would smooth things over.
Trump asked Romney to say, in front of the world, that he was "wrong" about Trump, CNN reports. Romney offered him praise for how he was currently conducting himself, but would not take back his past harsh statements. The two also didn't see eye to eye on Russia; Romney argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin can't be trusted or negotiated with, but believed he could balance Trump's foreign policy. Some observers believe Trump was trying to embarrass Romney, but he "never felt he was being played," a friend told CNN. Trump ultimately went with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his choice for secretary of state, but former Romney adviser Dan Senor told CNN that Romney doesn't regret putting himself out there. "Romney was prepared to subject himself to this process because of the country he loves and that he wants to serve," he added. "It's really that simple."