SALT LAKE CITY — In the latest will he or won't he become secretary of state, Mitt Romney remains a solid maybe.
President-elect Donald Trump told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that the former GOP presidential nominee is still in the running to head the State Department.
"Yes, he is," Trump told the morning news program as Time magazine named him Person of the Year.
"I've spoken to him a lot. We've come a long way together. We've had some tremendous difficulty together, and now I think we've come a long way," Trump said.
Romney has met twice with Trump in the past couple of weeks, once at his golf course in New Jersey and over dinner in New York.
Trump said he's "fairly close" to making a decision and will "probably" announce his choice next week. He has revealed some of his Cabinet choices as he travels to states on his "thank you" victory tour. Local GOP officials expect him to visit Utah but don't have a date yet.
Trump said he's not stringing Romney along to punish him for the caustic remarks he made during the campaign. Romney called Trump a "fraud" and a "phony" during a speech in Salt Lake City.
"No, it's not about revenge. It's about what's good for the country. And I'm able to put this stuff behind us," the president-elect said. "And I hit him very hard also, which is very nice that the press hasn't covered that. I'm very happy about that actually."
Trump said Romney "choked like a dog" in losing to President Barack Obama in 2012. He endorsed Romney in the GOP primary four years ago.
Other possible nominees for secretary of state include retired Gen. David Petraeus, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
Trump told "Today" that he has "in my own mind" ruled out some of the potential nominees but wouldn't say which ones.