Mitt Romney could turn out to be the 2020 version of Evan McMullin. Last week some signals were sent that may indicate Romney is considering it.
Remember Evan McMullin? He’s the former CIA officer who ran as a third-party candidate in 2016. He claimed to be a conservative alternative to Donald Trump. He failed miserably and even placed third in total votes in his own state of Utah. McMullin was said to have been recruited by Bill Kristol and his ilk among Establishment Republicans who were unable to accept Trump at the GOP nominee.
Romney has re-emerged, as he does occasionally, to be the self-appointed voice of morality. He slammed President Trump’s behavior during the phone call to Ukraine’s President Zelensky as “wrong and appalling”.
By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 4, 2019
Kristol weighed in on Twitter with a poll – who do you respect more?
Let’s see how much of a hellscape Twitter is. Whom do you respect more?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 5, 2019
That exercise earned him a response that you would imagine from Trump supporters. Romney’s behavior toward Trump has been erratic from the start. He blasted Trump before the election then pursued the position of Secretary of State and then ran for the U.S. Senate with the mission of being a thorn in Trump’s side. His talent at flip-flopping is legendary.
While Romney is clutching his pearls over Trump’s phone call, I haven’t seen a tweet criticizing Rep. Adam Schiff for lying about contact with the whistleblower who filed the complaint that opened up the investigation into the phone call. Even the Washington Post gave that four Pinocchios. That’s the problem with Romney – he’s too busy criticizing a Republican president to criticize Democrats. He was the first one out of the gate to jab at Trump on Twitter. Romney knew it would get a response.
President Trump lashed out at Sen. Mitt Romney as a “pompous ‘ass’ who has been fighting me from the beginning” after the Utah Republican called Trump’s discussions with foreign leaders “brazen and unprecedented.”
“Somebody please wake up Mitt Romney,” Trump tweeted Saturday, defending his conversations as “congenial and very appropriate.”
“Mitt Romney never knew how to win,” Trump continued. “He is so bad for R’s!”
There was some chatter that Romney is quietly taking the pulse of GOP donors.
Looks like Anthony Scaramucci is a fan of a Romney candidacy:
Mitt’s Decency over Trump’s Indecency.
Mitt’s Patriotism over Trump’s Facsism.
Mitt’s Democracy over Trump’s Dictatorship.
Mitt’s Grace over Trump’s Disgrace.
Mitt over Trump in 2020
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 6, 2019
I don’t know what this week holds. None of us do. I do think that the twists and turns will continue all the way until the House votes to impeach Trump – which they will, and then the Senate votes not to impeach Trump – which they will. Or at least that is what it looks like today.
Does Romney have the cojones to put a primary challenge forward? Probably not. When push comes to shove, he usually whiffs. Most of all, Romney is an opportunist. He’s for something as long as it is beneficial to him. For example, he set into place Romneycare in Massachusetts but when he ran for president against Obama and Obamacare, suddenly he was against it. If he continues to just preen on Twitter, he won’t garner much support. He’s just taking the opportunity in front of him to criticize Trump and sound like the Democrats who love to love him, except when he runs for president. The same Democrats praising him now called him all sorts of horrible names and made wild accusations against him back in 2012.
Romney is stuck in Establishment Republican mode. His time has passed. An argument can be made that he’s an example of how we got Trump in 2016. Trump voters aren’t as interested in the president’s words as they are actions. Romney isn’t a fighter. He swats his opponents. Americans were ready for a fighter and that’s why Trump rose as he did. Romney hasn’t learned that lesson yet.