President-elect Donald Trump is relishing a moment straight out of a reality show season finale that hasn't quite come to fruition: That moment when his most vocal and severe Republican detractor publicly gives in and kisses his ring. That detractor would be former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who made the extraordinary move to portray Trump in the harshest possible terms in a nationally-televised news conference earlier this year.
Now it looks like Romney is willing to eat one of the biggest dishes of crow in American political history if it means getting the job as Trump's Secretary of State. But there's one problem with this scenario: A fair number of Trump's closest confidants led by campaign manager Kellyanne Conway are dead set against it. Conway went so far as to say that even considering Romney was a "betrayal" of his supporters.
This all is part of what happens in almost every incoming presidential administration. That is, the inevitable power struggle between the people who ran the successful campaign and the people who come from outside the campaign who want to set the agenda in the White House. The big difference is that this dispute is a lot more public in nature and it's going to leave some of Trump's inner circle permanently on the outside looking in.
You don't need to be a psychologist to know why this Romney moment is so alluring for Trump. Starting with his years as a Queens native trying to break into the haughtier real estate market in Manhattan, he has always seen himself as an outsider trying to get into an often unwelcoming and snobby establishment.
Romney doesn't come off snobbish, but could anyone more look the part of "establishment Republican?" And Romney's March news conference laying out all his objections to the Trump candidacy sounded a lot like the kind of things Trump has probably heard from experienced politicians and "older money" types his entire life. It's one thing for Trump to win the White House and make that establishment uncomfortable, but it's another to make an icon of that establishment in Romney literally come work for him.
So should Trump go with the establishment on this one or side with the rebels?