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Commentary: Trump's dinner with Romney is awful optics for man who promised to save middle class

President-elect Donald Trump eats dinner with former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, at Jean-Georges restaurant Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump told supporters at nearly all of his rallies that he would be a president for the middle-class worker — the West Virginia coal miner worried about the future of his occupation and the Ohio steel worker whose family still hasn't quite recovered from the recession that technically ended years ago.

Yet, for all Trump's rhetoric and promises, the president-elect's lavish Manhattan lifestyle doesn't exactly scream "middle class champion." For the most recent example of Trump's excess spending, we need to look no further than the restaurant menu from which the president-elect and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ordered dinner Tuesday night.

Romney, who is under consideration to be Trump's secretary of state, met with the billionaire business mogul at Jean-George's restaurant, located inside none other than Trump International Hotel and Tower off New York City's Central Park. The cheapest dinner menu item, you ask? That would be a jaw-dropping $128.

Don't get me wrong — I'm all for successful individuals enjoying the fruits of their labor. But Trump campaigned on being a voice for America's middle class, which has been struggling now for years. What type of message does Trump send to Americans who have all but given up on an economy they feel just doesn't work for them anymore while he's chowing down on lush meat that is equal to the cost of some Americans' car payments?

This is the new reality Trump is now forced to confront. While Trump hasn't yet been sworn in, he will officially become the 45th president in just 50 days and, whether he likes it or not, optics now matter more than ever before. No longer is he solely a billionaire businessman known for his over-the-top style. He is now a public servant who just so happens to be a billionaire, employed by the American people.

Millions who voted for Trump, and millions who are reluctant to call him their leader, are counting on him to return this country, and its economy, to a more prosperous environment — and not just for the East Coast elites like himself and the former Massachusetts governor.

One last thing…
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