Sen. Mitt Romney was under consideration to be President Donald Trump’s first secretary of state before the president tapped oil executive Rex Tillerson. Now, there’s speculation in Washington that Romney could be a candidate for that same spot if former Vice President Joe Biden wins in November.
The lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck sent a memo to clients Friday speculating who could potentially fill cabinet and staff positions in a Biden administration come 2021. The memo warns that the list of possible personnel picks for a Biden White House is “highly speculative.” The memo’s contents were first reported by Politico.
Romney was mentioned as a potential candidate to head the State Department, along with former national security adviser Susan Rice and Tony Blinken, who is a foreign policy adviser for the Biden campaign.
In 2016, Romney famously met with then-president-elect Trump about the State Department post, which caused some raised-eyebrows given Romney’s full-throated condemnation of Trump during a speech at the University of Utah earlier that year. Romney was so serious about the possibility of joining the Trump cabinet he spoke with Democrat Hillary Clinton, who was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, about the possibility. She urged him to take the job.
Romney voiced his support of Trump following the meeting, only to be passed over in favor of Tillerson.
The idea of Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee, joining a Democratic administration is not as far-fetched as it might seem. There are numerous instances where a president of one party appoints a cabinet member from across the aisle. President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of education, William Bennett, was a Democrat as was Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick. Democratic President Bill Clinton appointed Republican William Cohen as his secretary of defense, and President Barack Obama tapped Republicans Robert Gates and Chuck Hagel for that same slot during his administration.
Romney’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Romney is not the only Utahn being talked about as a possible candidate for a cabinet position in a hypothetical Biden administration. The memo also lists Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, as a possible pick for education secretary. Eskelsen Garcia was the president of the Utah Education Association and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1998.
Others mentioned as possible education secretary picks include former mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.