Why Mitt Romney will not become the US Secretary of State but with the Big Donald one must keep their eyes open.
Written by Dmitri Dvornitsky; Originally appeared at Life, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
Almost in any documentary or artistic film about magicians you know that the most important always happens not where the audience is looking.
Donald Trump and his closest aides already have proved to the world that they are masters in this magic.
During the election campaign and even during the election night itself the majority of “talking heads” were discussing Nevada, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina but Trump and his team at that time were taking the so-called Rust Belt – Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
The co-authors of this success were the people that were first to enter the future administration of the White House, the young Republican functionary Raines Pribus and the brilliant media manager Steve Bannon.
Following this, the advisor for national security (Michael Flynn) and the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) were appointed as well as the director of the CIA (Mike Pompeo). The candidacy of Flynn, Sessions and Bannon created a storm of indignation not only in the liberal media but also amidst the Washington “hawks” as well as among congressmen of both parties.
Such a reaction is a serious problem for Trump. The majority of appointments will inevitably harden in the senate. Besides, the new president will need the support of the congress to carry out his planned reforms.
It is then that retired general James “Mad Dog” Mattis and the former governor of Massachusetts, the candidate for the presidency from the Republican Party at the 2012 elections Mitt Romney appeared at the Trump residence in New Jersey (on the territory of golf resort Bedminster).
At the suggestion from Donald himself, his vice-president Mike Pence and “anonymous sources in his entourage” are talking to the media about the fact that Mattis will become the new Secretary of Defence and Romney the new Secretary of State.
The press focused specifically on these two persons, since their nomination in the Trump administration would be even more of a sensation than the Trump victory during the elections of November 8.
Romney up to election day criticised the Big Donald, being one of the key participants of the NeverTrump movement, calling him a “phoney” and “fraud”.
But if only the matter was in personal relations. The former governor is at odds with the president-elect practically on all key matters of domestic policy. He did not just wittingly named Russia in 2012 as the USA’s geopolitical enemy No. 1. Romney consistently supports for a No Fly Zone in Syria and considers cooperation with Moscow in the fight against IS* “morally unacceptable”.
The Wall Street Journal publication citing its sources trumpeted to the whole world that in the Trump camp there is a serious battle. Supposedly, the president elect himself “wants very much” to see as Secretary of State his worst enemy but his inner circle are absolutely against.
The “talking heads” on the main American television stations claimed that the Big Donald “made an act of reconciliation”, “made a wise decision” and made an “important step towards party unity”.
So, are we looking at a dramatic turnaround in Donald Trump’s foreign policy?
I do not think so.
All this noise around Romney’s candidacy was a skilful public relations campaign. Trump really needs that his enemy works for him. But certainly not as the chief diplomat of the Unites States.
To better understand what is at stake we will look at another appointment, which is not destined to happen.
The same day that the press was speaking about the “Secretary of State Romney”, another information tidbit was made that the Defence Secretary of the USA will be the retired general James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
But Mattis cannot become the head of the Pentagon. In the USA, by law, it is forbidden to fill that position with a person that did not spend a minimum of seven years in retirement after the military service. There was only one exception to this rule in 1950 at the request of President Truman. It was the five-star general George Marshall that became the Secretary of Defence.
To do this, Congress passed a bill in relation to a specific person, where it was specifically stated that the case is exceptional, so that in the future similar decisions are not recommended.
In principle, one would ask Congress to enact special legislation for Mattis, but the issued had to be resolved before the inauguration, therefore, Barak Obama could veto it, with a reasonable reference to the 1950 bill.
Donald Trump would not risk it.
The same thing can be said about “considering the Romney candidacy”. The former governor of Massachusetts does not possess any foreign nor diplomatic experience. He was a successful businessman, decent governor and excellent organisational schemer, but to put him in a position as the head of the Department of State in such a difficult time would be imprudent even in the case if Mitt was praising Trump throughout the campaign and agreed with him in everything.
Considering everything, Romney himself agreed to take part in the show. He needed some kind of moral rehabilitation after the humiliating defeat of the NeverTrump movement, and for Trump, the loyalty of the old party establishment.
In addition to demonstrating to the Republican congressmen some latitude and his capacity of being a “hawk” Donald Trump resolved along the way another problem, which is to scare the left wing of the Democrats and make them more compliant.
And it worked.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the famous Bernie Sanders supporter, who did not surrender to the graces of Hillary even when the Vermont Senator gave in, came to meet Trump. She even left from the position of Vice-President of the National Democratic Committee Party as a sign of protest against the violations of the party during the primaries.
The credibility of Gabbard grows every day among the Democrats in Congress. Today she is the symbol of honesty and the fights for values. According to her, she arrived at the President’s residence, so as not to let neocons and warmongers into the administration.
The deed is done. Mitt Romney went as a goodwill Ambassador to John McCain and his friends, and Tulsi Gabbard to the Democrats.
Favourable conditions were created for the newly appointed members of the Trump administration and Big Donald, right before Thanksgiving, did not fail to use them.
The Governor of South Caroline Nikky Haley was nominated as Ambassador to the UN. She is considered a natural born negotiator, capable of reconciling different points of view and bringing to the negotiating table the worst of enemies.
Haley will not just become a senior diplomat of the USA. Her position in the Trump administration is given a status of a member of the cabinet, which in American history was not done often. It is as if Vitaly Churkin had a rank of a federal minister.
The Secretary of Education was given to the businesswoman, philanthropist and civil activist Betsy DeVos, having her own views on education reforms in the USA.
Both new co-workers of the administration have experience in entrepreneurial activities and consider the Washington establishment with ill-concealed contempt. And for these two reasons are ideal candidates for their roles in the Donald Trump cabinet. I suspect that for these two appointments the elected President already has a “pardon” from the new composition of the Senate.
When Mitt Romney will be asked, what the hell was he doing at Trump’s residence, since he did not become Secretary of State, you will see, he will say: “I was lobbying for Nikky Haley”.
Next week, most likely, we will finally find out who will become the Secretary of State of the USA. Those with the most chance are the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani and congressman Bob Corker. However Donald again might surprise everyone. But certainly not appointing Romney.
It is time to get used to this; this is the signature style of President Trump. We look in one direction but the most important happens in another.
By no means it is by chance that the book of the new US president “The Art of the Deal” is once again a world bestseller. Only now it is read not by those that want to succeed in business but by those that do not want to fall into a trap, doing business with Big Donald.
* The activities of the organisation are banned on the territory of the Russian Federation by decree of the Supreme Court.