Mitt Romney puts differences aside to meet Donald Trump

Former Republican candidate for the presidency has called Trump a ‘con man’ and a ‘phoney’ in the past

Donald Trump and Mitt Romney have put aside a year of conflict as they met with a smile and a handshake at the US president-elect's golf club in New Jersey.

Neither indicated what role Mr Romney, who was defeated by Barack Obama in the 2012 election, might play in Mr Trump's new administration.

Mr Trump flashed a thumbs-up and said the sit-down meeting "went great".

Mr Romney said the two had a "far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theatres in the world where there are interests of the United States of real significance".

The amiable tone was a marked contrast to a rancorous year, in which Mr Romney branded Mr Trump a “con man” and a “phoney”.

The two have started to mend fences since Mr Trump's victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Mitt Romney was only one of a parade of officials pouring through Mr Trump’s door as the president-elect tries to fill more members of his administration.

He also met education activists Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos, as well as retired General James Mattis, considered a contender to lead the Pentagon.

Mr Trump said later: “we’re seeing tremendous talent. People that, like I say, we will ‘Make America Great Again.‘ These are really great people. These are really, really talented people.”

Asked about specific appointments, Mr Trump said: “You’ll hear some things tomorrow.”

Mr Trump's schedule in Bedminster includes New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach.

On Friday, Mr Trump picked Alabama senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Kansas representative Mike Pompeo to head the CIA, signalling a sharp turn to the right in US security policy as he begins to form his Cabinet.

Mr Trump also named retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

The president-elect also rushed to the defence of Mike Pence after actor Brandon Victor Dixon challenged the incoming vice president from the Broadway stage after the hit show Hamilton on Friday night.

“Apologise!” Trump tweeted to the actor. “Our wonderful future VP Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”

Mr Dixon tweeted back: “Conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate Mike_Pence for stopping to listen.”

Mr Trump also bragged on Twitter about agreeing to settle a trio of lawsuits against Trump University, claiming: “The ONLY bad thing about winning the presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!”

Mr Trump’s initial cabinet decisions suggest a more aggressive military involvement in counter-terror strategy and a greater emphasis on Islam’s role in stoking extremism.

Mr Sessions, who is best known for his hard line immigration views, has questioned whether terrorist suspects should benefit from the rights available in US courts. Mr Pompeo has said Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in attacks if they do not denounce violence carried out in the name of Islam.

AP

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