Romney: The first phase of this coronavirus response wasn't a great moment of American leadership

This is why they call him a RINO. A real Republican would have shrugged off the CDC’s testing catastrophe in February and the president’s weeks-long habit of muttering semi-lucidly as the virus spread that it was going to go away soon.

Sixty thousand dead in less than two months, with Trump bellowing sporadically at a frightened public as the body count about getting back to work, and Romney’s going to take a beating from the usual suspects for daring to suggest that that was sub-optimal. Meh.

It’s interesting to find him not backing off criticism of Trump after his vote to remove him in February. I thought he’d lie low, not wanting to antagonize Republicans in Utah who don’t like seeing one of their senators make trouble for the president. Instead we find him saying stuff like this and joining bipartisan efforts in the Senate to push back on Trump’s removal of the intelligence community IG. I guess there’s no sense trying to maintain a pretense of cordiality towards the administration after you’ve voted to oust its leader.

“The speed of our response looked slow compared to other people. That first phase will not stand out as a great moment in American leadership,” Romney said, referring to the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, adding, “We didn’t look real strong, and that’s kind of an understatement.”…

“It’s hard to say to all 50 governors, you guys all do your thing,” Romney said. “I think the federal coordination has been less than my personal style.”…

Romney also seemed to criticize Trump’s advisers, saying he would be surrounding himself with “real experts in crisis management … people who have dealt with this more than I have.”

He added, “The key to leadership is recognizing you’re not the smartest guy in the room.”

“I’m not blaming this administration,” he said at one point, which is funny because it kind of sounds like he’s blaming this administration. You know Romney, though — always out of touch with the American people:

I can’t help but feel that he’s not going to be invited to CPAC again next year. But don’t worry: Diamond & Silk definitely will be.

Here’s a few minutes from his comments yesterday. He raised a good point at one part when he was talking about experts in crisis management: Why not bring Chris Christie aboard? Christie’s been pushing out op-eds intermittently about how to manage the crisis, which I take it are his way of auditioning for a White House job. Trump could do worse than to hire a smart, if flawed, former executive with lots of government experience, so what’s the hold-up? Is Prince Jared still holding a grudge over Christie having sent his father to prison? Nothing says “good leadership” like letting your unqualified son-in-law block potentially useful hires in a national crisis due to a personal vendetta.