WASHINGTON -- FormerU.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who yesterday pitched himself to President-elect Donald Trump for the post of secretary of Veterans Affairs, also talked up Mitt Romney to head the State Department, saying the former Massachusetts governor would be a "brilliant choice."
Brown told the Herald that Trump asked his opinion of Romney during a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, one of a flurry of meetings Trump had with prospective Cabinet nominees. Romney also met with Trump on Saturday in New Jersey to discuss the secretary of state post -- the first face-to-face meeting since the president-elect and the 2012 GOP nominee made blistering attacks on each other during the campaign.
"I told Donald, when I was asked what I thought of Gov. Romney, that I think it would be a brilliant choice," Brown told the Herald after his meeting.
"It would be sending a very, very, very powerful message not only to our allies around the world, and also to our foes," Brown said, "to show how two people who battled and said things back and forth, in the end say, 'You know, we've got that out of our system and now let's put the country first.' "
Other names floated as potential secretary of state picks include former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Brown, who called himself "the best person" to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that he would work quickly to put a new team in place to implement reforms, a move that would be aided by the Senate rule change ushered in by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that requires only 51 votes -- rather than 60 -- to confirm agency appointments.
Among Brown's proposals for overhauling the VA are plans to outsource some mental health services for veterans to private vendors, address the high suicide rate among veterans with measures including a new 24/7 hotline, eliminate waste, and refocus priorities in the budget.
He faces competition for the post, chiefly from Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Others meeting with Trump for potential Cabinet positions included Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who earlier this year resigned from a Democratic National Committee post amid a feud with then-DNC chairwoman and fellow Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz over accusations the committee favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Gabbard later endorsed Sanders.