BEDMINSTER, N.J., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, one of his most severe critics inside the Republican Party, met Saturday for what Trump described as a "great" meeting that included the possibility Romney would serve as Trump's secretary of state.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump offered Romney the job -- nor if he did, whether Romney would accept it -- but the meeting signaled an about-face for Trump, who this week appointed multiple hard-line conservatives to national security posts. Romney, an establishment Republican who savaged Trump as unfit to lead the nation during the campaign, told press outside Trump's upscale golf resort in New Jersey where a series of transition meetings took place Saturday he was happy to meet with Trump and discuss world affairs.
Romney, the Republicans' 2008 nominee, called the hour-long meeting a "very thorough and in-depth discussion."
The two men warmly greeted each other, along with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The trio shook hands, smiling broadly and waving to the media before Trump ushered Romney inside the golf club for the private sit-down.
Romney was not the only outsider invited for a meeting with Trump on Saturday. Former Washington, D.C., school chief Michelle Rhee, a Democrat, met with Trump, as well. The Washington Post reported Rhee is being considered for education secretary, along with Betsy DeVos, a Republican.
Though a Democrat, Rhee carved out a position as a firebrand education reformer during her time as chancellor of one of the nation's most troubled school districts. She enraged teachers' unions when she moved to fire educators with poor performance records despite their having tenure and scrapped union contracts in favor of policies linking teacher pay to test scores. She also supported expanding charter schools, another issue anathema to unions that conservatives – including Trump – support.
Rhee does not see entirely eye-to-eye with Trump on education policy, however. She supports the national education standards known as common core, which Trump opposes and has promised to rescind when he takes office.
Rhee attended the meeting with her husband, Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson.
DeVos opposes common core and supports charter school expansion and school vouchers allowing students in underprivileged areas to attend private schools if they choose.
A Trump spokesman said the meetings demonstrate Trump's desire to solicit a wide range of opinions as he takes on the massive task of assembling a Cabinet that will lead the federal government when he is sworn in on Jan. 20.
"These meetings that the president-elect and vice president-elect are having really show the root and the depth to which we're going to pull in diverse ideas and different perspectives as we form this administration," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.