Mitt Romney fails his first test on Russia

When Senator Mitt Romney opened 2019 with a scathing op-ed lamenting President Donald Trump’s lack of moral leadership, it seemed like he was claiming the mantle of the late Senator John McCain.

Like McCain, Romney — for the most part — did not partake in the ritual fealty that so many of Trump’s vanquished foes demonstrated. Sure, he met with Trump in November 2016 to audition for secretary of state. But Romney never fully bent the knee.

So one might think Romney would have joined the 11 other Republican senators who voted this week to stop the Trump administration from lifting sanctions meant to squeeze Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies. Senate aides told me Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not try too hard to whip the vote, and neither did the White House.

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