Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, on Sunday assailed Mitt Romney, a leading contender for secretary of state in the Trump Cabinet, accusing him of having gone “out of his way to hurt” the president-elect during the Republican primaries.
Conway’s criticism of Romney, on ABC’s “This Week” program, came as Trump is weighing whether to choose Romney, Rudy Giuliani or perhaps another candidate for the State Department post.
Asked about her comments on Twitter last week that she had received a “deluge” of concern about Romney, Conway said she had discussed the issue privately with Trump and would respect his decision. But she made clear that she personally opposed choosing Romney as secretary of state.
“There was the Never Trump movement, and then there was Gov. Mitt Romney,” she said on ABC, adding later: “I only wish Governor Romney had been as critical of Hillary Clinton” during the general election. During the primaries, Romney called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony.”
Conway said it was important for Trump to seek to unify the Republican Party by making gestures to those who opposed his candidacy. But, she added, “I don’t think the cost of party unity has to be the secretary of state position.”
Trump and his aides also continued on Sunday to harshly criticize a recount effort being undertaken by Jill Stein, who was the Green Party candidate for president. In a series of Twitter posts starting early Sunday, Trump condemned Clinton, whose top lawyer for her presidential bid said over the weekend that the campaign would participate in a recount in Wisconsin and potentially in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In an initial message at 7:19, Trump wrote that “Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change.”
He noted that in her concession speech, Clinton urged people to respect the vote results.
“'We have to accept the results and look to the future, Donald Trump is going to be our President,'” Trump wrote on Twitter, quoting Clinton. “'We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.’ So much time and money will be spent — same result! Sad.”
Later, he tweeted "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," which has political analysts confused; it seems to be a conspiracy theory with little basis in fact. Voting illegally is close to impossible; NBC Nightly News has a video starring Trump proving this fact himself in 2004, when he was turned away from three different polling places because he wasn't on the rolls.
The possibility Trump is trying to distract from the latest bombshell about his businesses with these tweets has not gone unnoticed - distracting the public with outrageous tweets when serious stories come out criticizing him, such as Saturday's story in the New York Times about his potential conflicts of interest around the globe, seems to have become commonplace for the future commander in chief.