I figured I might as well throw in my two cents on perhaps the biggest name to come about as a result of all the speculation surrounding President Trump’s gradually-forming Cabinet.
First, a disclaimer: contrary to the views held by my own conservative, Republican community here at UC Santa Barbara, I am quite satisfied with the idea of Mitt Romney becoming a member of Trump’s Cabinet. Perhaps it is because the first person I voted for was Mitt Romney that I believe Governor Romney absolutely should have a role in the coming Trump Administration, and indeed has the skills necessary to help Make America Great Again.
Secretary of State isn’t too far-fetched of a position. Despite Romney being consistently described (sometimes by himself) as best fit for the field of business, finance, and the economy in general, it is worth noting that a number of his foreign policy predictions were eerily accurate. He was infamously ridiculed by President Obama for calling Russia a geopolitical threat, several years before Putin’s annexation of Crimea. He additionally claimed that Obama’s reelection would guarantee a nuclear Iran (see: The Iran Nuclear Deal), and warned about the possibility of increased terrorism and instability in such regions as Mali (which indeed was mired in chaos for three years until a ceasefire was finally negotiated in 2015).
However, as well-known of a name as he is, and as clearly foreign policy-savvy as he has shockingly proven himself to be, I still ultimately do not think Governor Romney should become Secretary Romney.
Rather, I believe that Romney should be made the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The title alone should make it obvious why this is the best choice. It will put Romney into an area where he is most comfortable, and indeed, has a proven record that is nothing short of stellar. From his tenure as CEO of Bain & Co., to head of the Salt Lake City Olympics Organizing Committee, to Governor of Massachusetts, one of his signature achievements has always been tackling debts and deficits, and leading entities out of financial crises. The Olympics and his governorship in particular present clear evidence of this: he brought the Olympics back from being submerged in scandal and completely overcame a nearly $400 million deficit. As Governor of Massachusetts, he completely reversed a projected $1.5 billion deficit, primarily through conservative policies such as lower government spending and closing tax loopholes. This is the kind of man we need working closely with the national budget and other fiscal issues.
This move would also satisfy just about everyone who has an opinion on a possible Romney appointment. There are those who vehemently support Romney, whether by his own merits, or by virtue of “keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer.” His appointment will put someone who is genuinely qualified in a federal position and will also help to unite the Republican Party by bringing aboard a man who had arguably been President Trump’s fiercest critic during the election. At the same time, it would also satisfy the most passionate Trump loyalists who want to see Romney punished for his lack of loyalty when it mattered most. Many have suggested that the ultimate humiliation would be everything Trump has already been doing – meet multiple times with Romney, force him to speak positively about Trump, and dangle the possibility of the top Cabinet position on a thin line before him – only to yank the rug out from under him at the very end and turn him down. In some ways, an appointment to the significantly lower position of Director of OMB would be the level of humiliation that these people think Romney deserves, but wouldn’t see him completely exiled, and his talents wasted, either.
And thus, appointing Romney to the position of Director of the Office of Management and Budget would ultimately feature the best of both worlds: a qualified individual in the right job, a move that would unify the party, and simultaneously a move that appears to forgive him for his past transgressions and would serve as a fitting punishment for a lack of loyalty. What’s not to like about this move?
You can follow the author on Twitter: @EricLendrum26.