Proactively snubbing Romney was a win-win for Schlapp that showcased his messaging skills and, inadvertently, revealed his character. When a man is down, by all means kick the daylights out of him. In so doing, Schlapp ingratiated himself to his base, received bounteous media attention and maybe even earned a little grace for his wife Mercedes “Mercy” Schlapp.
Mercy was White House director of strategic communications until last July, when she joined Trump’s reelection campaign. Meanwhile, the past overlap of Schlapp’s CPAC sponsors and his clients — including Comcast, Altria and the Motion Picture Association of America — has not gone unnoticed by a contingent of critics who refer to the conference as “The Matt and Mercy Show.”
Schlapp knows as well as anyone that Romney is an honorable man who is surely believable when he says his Senate vote was a matter of principle and not, as some have suggested, revenge. (After publicly courting Romney for secretary of state, Trump chose someone else, seemingly to humiliate his at-the-time former critic.) Even if Romney might derive a tiny bit of satisfaction from the fact that his faith-driven principles didn’t allow him to acquit Trump, what does he really get out of being an outlier — other than the respect of liberals who would admire Hannibal Lecter if he feasted on Republicans?