Romney is now the lone GOP voice willing to stand up to Trump

“Everyone should be allowed to speak their mind,” Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told CNN about Romney. “I think Mitt has a lot of good friends within our conference. … While it might be hard externally for people to think that if he says things that you don’t agree with or he maybe says it the wrong way … we still have respect for his years of his service and his vision.”

Romney’s face-offs with Trump have come in many forms over the years, from blistering speeches to heated op-eds, including one he published in 2019 in The Washington Post where he argued that “the president [had] not risen to the mantle of the office.” Romney frustrated his GOP colleagues in February when he crossed the aisle and joined Democrats in a vote to remove Trump from office amid the impeachment trial. Republicans blasted Romney for stepping on the messaging of Trump’s inevitable acquittal and not giving them a heads up.

“I’ll give him this: professional rollout,” one GOP senator told CNN at the time. “Not very collegial, but very professional.”

In recent days, Romney has said he is working with colleagues to help craft legislation to rein in police brutality. And while many Republicans did not want to comment on his criticism of Trump, they did argue that Romney has emerged as a legislative partner.