Almost as we write, President-elect Trump is meeting with Mitt Romney for dinner, and we can presume that they will discuss whether the former presidential candidate will serve as his secretary of state. The meeting comes even as several Trump loyalists such as Newt Gingrich and Kellyanne Conway are grumbling in public about Romney, who was arguably Trump’s harshest Republican critic during the election year.

Earlier this week, Trump also met with former Gen. David Petraeus, whom he praised afterward, floating his name for the same position. It is no surprise that Trump was impressed with Petraeus’ knowledge of foreign affairs, given Petraeus’ experience as top Army general and commander, and as director of the CIA.

Trump will have to make his own decision, but we urge him to pick Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is good for the position on his own merits, and Trump’s decision to meet with him more than once seems to show he shares our view on this matter. It would be a magnanimous act of reconciliation and would deepen the sense that the president-elect is big enough to welcome a wide range of views and is willing to abandon rather than harbor grudges.

But there are also two important reasons why Petraeus is not the most appropriate choice.

The first is that Trump just ran his campaign against “crooked Hillary” Clinton focusing on her offense in compromising classified information in a way strikingly similar to one for which Petraeus was actually convicted.

It is true that Petraeus’ offense was less systematic and less self-serving than Clinton’s, and that unlike Clinton, he had to pay the price for his crime. But his appointment would send an awkward message about Trump’s constant jabs about Clinton’s emails, which included even threats (since renounced) to prosecute and imprison her.

The second reason for not choosing Petraeus is that Trump seems likely to choose another retired general for the other of the two most important cabinet positions, secretary of defense. He has now spoken with both Gen. James Mattis and Gen. John Kelly, each of whom reportedly told Trump he should appoint the other. In fact, Trump might end up appointing both of those generals to his Cabinet, one to Defense and the other to Homeland Security.

One or two retired generals in the Cabinet would be nothing unusual, and retired military officers bring necessary experience and counsel that every president needs. But if Trump puts three generals into the three most important Cabinet posts, in addition to the already-named Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, his administration will be be too heavy with military brass. In international and national security matters, he will be missing a needed element of civilian experience.

Military experience does not apply to most international situations. If Trump looks around the table at Cabinet meetings and sees nothing but retired generals, the advice he gets on such matters could be at least rather one-sided, and at worst somewhat militaristic.

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Romney, on the other hand, brings with him an understanding of world affairs for which he was never given adequate credit in 2012. He was correct, prescient even, to recognize with clear eyes the threat that Russia posed, even though all it got him was vacuous mockery from President Obama and his supporters in the media. Romney also is not ideologically committed to the neoconservative foreign policy ideas that Trump campaigned against.

From a political perspective, the choice of Romney would not only be reassuring to the public but could also help Trump in his efforts to unite a Republican Party that is still divided after his election victory. Bringing aboard a dedicated public servant with whom he has not always seen eye-to-eye, while choosing a civilian for a civilian’s job, would be regarded as wise by the nation that awaits his presidency expectantly.

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