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DeWit: Romney as secretary of state a tough pill to swallow for Trump supporters

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks with reporters after eating dinner with President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges restaurant, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

LISTEN: Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit on his appointment to Trump's staff.

PHOENIX — The potential hiring of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as secretary of state would be hard for Donald Trump supporters to get behind, Arizona Treasurer and former Donald Trump campaign COO Jeff DeWit said.

“I’ve been contacted the most by Donald Trump supporters saying ‘Please don’t let him choose Romney,'” DeWit told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

“That’s going to be the one that’s going to be the hardest for people to swallow – and who knows if it’s going to go that way.”

Romney has been linked to the position for weeks, but the party seems divided over the potential pick. While some see it as the president-elect building bridges to traditional Republicans, others see it as betrayal.

“People feel betrayed to think that Gov. Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump, now our president-elect, would be given the most significant cabinet post of all,” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in one of several television interviews Sunday.

DeWit — who was hired on as a special adviser to Trump’s transition team on Tuesday — echoed Conway’s sentiments, saying, “Romney obviously went well above being critical throughout the campaign even after Donald Trump was the nominee.”

In March, Romney gave a critical speech about Trump. He said the then-nominee lacked the temperment for office, was not a business success and was not smart enough about foreign policy, among other things.

“His domestic policies would lead to recession,” Romney said during the speech. “His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”

Trump responded by mocking Romney, calling him a “choker” and saying he “walks like a penguin.”

However, the once-icy relationship between Romney and Trump has apparently thawed in the weeks following the election.

Romney has traveled to Trump’s New Jersey golf club for a private meeting to discuss the possibility of joining the administration.

After the meeting, Trump was said to be taken by the way Romney “looks the part” of a globe-trotting diplomat, according to people close to the transition process.

DeWit said he trusts Trump’s decision making ability.

“I trust Donald Trump and the choices he makes because every time he’s been second guessed on the campaign by anybody, he’s always been proven right in the end,” he said. “I think we have to really go with whatever he decides.”

DeWit also said he likes Trump’s Cabinet choices thus far.

“I like where he’s going with these picks … what I like is he’s picking doers not talkers. If you really know these people, they’re people who produced,” he said, adding that he especially approves of hedge fund CEO Steven Mnuchin and billionaire Wilbur Ross.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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