Republicans and Donald Trump's own team cast doubt over Mitt Romney being named as secretary of state

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has also suggested there are better and more loyal candidates

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The Independent US

Republicans and top Donald Trump allies have cast doubt over Mitt Romney being selected as secretary of state.

Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate who named Mr Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” in March, had a "far-reaching" conversation with Mr Trump last weekend, but has yet to be offered a role.

The former Massachusetts governor also said Mr Trump’s promises were “as worthless as a degree from Trump University”.

Mr Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway showed her displeasure at the idea in a series of tweets and named more “loyal” candidates for the job including Henry Kissinger, the hawkish secretary of state in the 1970s, and George Schultz, who worked for Ronald Reagan.

She said they flew around the world less, counseled the president closer to home and were loyal, which made “a good checklist”.

She also said she had received a “deluge” of private social media communications warning her against Mr Romney. She linked to a Politico article, with the headline “Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as secretary of state.”

The article quoted former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former house speaker Newt Gingrich, who accused Mr Romney of trying to “derail” the president-elect during the campaign trail.

“It’s not about that I don’t care for Mitt personally, but I’m still very unhappy that Mitt did everything he could to derail Donald Trump,” Mr Huckabee told Fox News.

“He didn’t just go after him from a standpoint of saying I disagree with his policy on immigration or I disagree with his policy on taxes. He attacked him on a personal level about his character, integrity, his honour.”

Yet Mr Trump's vice president-elect, Mike Pence, recently confirmed that Mr Romney was a top pick for the job, highlighting a potential clash amid the transition team.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is also reportedly being considered for the role, after he turned down the offer of attorney general, but other names may be added to the list as all parties mull the decisions over Thanksgiving.

Mr Trump himself had attacked Mr Romney, calling him a “choke artist” who had “begged” him for money when he was running for president.

Yet the possible new secretary of state tweeted an olive branch after the election, saying: “Best wishes for our duly elected president: May his victory speech be his guide and preserving the Republic his aim.”

Their meeting in New Jersey on Saturday was described by officials as “extremely positive and productive”.

This week Mr Trump made several key appointments including billionaire, anti-gay activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary and offered the role of US housing and urban development secretary to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.