While President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team huddle privately to pick their administration’s secretary of state, top adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday made a repeated, public case against deciding on Mitt Romney.
Conway says she will support whomever Trump picks, but continues to argue that the grass-roots supporters who backed his improbable victory feel let down about Romney, considering he called Trump a “con man” and a “phony.”
"People feel betrayed to think that … Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump … would be given the most significant Cabinet post of all,” Conway said on NBC's "Meet the Press.”
Trump, a Republican, and his team of advisers appear to be split on whether Trump should pick Romney, a former GOP presidential nominee, or former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an early Trump loyalist.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on “Fox News Sunday” downplayed rumors over vicious infighting over who will lead the State Department, saying that Trump's "going to make the best decision for the American people.”
However, Conway, openly talking outside the confines of transition headquarters in New York’s Trump Tower, suggests a clear divide.
“We don't even know if (Romney) voted for Donald Trump,” Conway said in a separate interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He and his consultants were nothing but awful to Donald Trump for a year … "I'm all for party unity. But I'm not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position. I think there are concerns that those of us that are loyal have, and we want a secretary of state who's loyal to the president."
This is not the first time that Conway, who emerged late in the White House race to lead the Trump campaign to victory, has made her thoughts known about Romney.
On Thursday, she tweeted: “Receiving deluge of social media & private comms re: Romney. Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as sec of state.”
On Sunday, Conway, now a senior adviser for the Trump transition team, said on Twitter that she has privately expressed her thoughts to Trump and that she’ll respect his decision. However, the larger “point is the volume & intensity of grass-roots resistance to Romney is breathtaking,” she also tweeted.