Aides to Donald Trump have discussed asking former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to publicly apologize for insulting the president-elect in order to pave the way for a nomination to lead the State Department.

A Trump transition aide confirmed to on Friday that there have been ‘discussions’ inside Trump Tower about the possibility. The source wouldn’t say if Trump himself is aware of those discussions or has given them his blessing.

Romney famously tore into Trump in March, telling a Utah audience that the New York billionaire was ‘a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.’

But eight months after the former Massachusetts governor said that ‘dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark’ and mocked his ‘bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics,’ Trump is reportedly considering making him America’s top diplomat.

Choosing Romney could leave Trump open to sniping from conservatives who are eager to see a Republican administration chock full of right-wing political bomb-throwers in the mold of the president-elect’s campaign speeches.

But Trump has sent signals that he’s interested in showing the world a softer face, even at the risk of alienating some of his most zealous backers.

One way to resolve that tension would be a public mea culpa to smooth the waters with Trump loyalists who want to see a more charismatic hard-liner – like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich – win the post.

Trump transition communications aide Jason Miller cautioned reporters on a Friday morning conference call not to read too much into what aides from warring camps might be saying.

‘A lot of the palace intrigue gets a little bit overblown at this stage in the process,’ Miller said.