Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt made a name for himself in 2012 as a close confidant of Mitt Romney, overseeing his huge “transition of power” operation.
Now, Leavitt is being utilized by one of Romney’s greatest rivals, with Trump’s campaign seeking his expertise in planning their own White House takeover.
Leavitt, who says he has been in talks with Trump’s transition team, emphasized he is returning the favor for those who guided and advised him during his management of Romney’s transition team.
“I have made myself available to be helpful where I can,” Leavitt, 65, told ABC News. “I’m just doing my best to return the favor.”
Despite Romney’s calling Trump a “phony” and a “fraud,” and even making attempts to recruit a third party candidate, Leavitt says the 2012 GOP presidential nominee doesn’t affect his efforts to advise the party’s 2016 standard-bearer.
“My job, as I view it, is I have some very unique experience,” Leavitt said. “Countries are vulnerable during transitions and I see this as a very – almost obligation – to contribute to the country. This is a very serious thing.”
Reflecting on his 2012 efforts, Leavitt hopes the other two candidates are also investing time and effort in mapping out a transition..
“We worked for six hard months and built a great ship that never sailed,” he said of his 2012 efforts, “but it was the process of building the ship that was very important.”
Leavitt says he has not yet had discussions with Trump’s transition team about how exactly Christie will build out the team or how many people would manage a potential Trump transition to the White House.
He’s a member of the advisory board for the nonprofit Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan organization designed to help prepare presidential candidates for the bureaucratic and technical challenges inherent in the transition of power.