Senator Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are holding a two-day summit that began Tuesday. It is described as a “closed-door” summit in Park City, Utah.
The Republican presidential ticket from 2012, who lost an election that should have been winnable, brought together four current presidential candidates. The four are Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, and Doug Burgum.
This is an 11-year-old summit called the E2 Summit. It focuses on foreign policy, tech, and finance/business. Those attending the summit are “well-heeled, well-wired Republicans” who want to find an alternative to Trump and fund that candidate.
The “maestro” behind the summit is Spencer Zwick. He said the attendees are from the Romney/Ryan network who “don’t just accept that Donald Trump is the nominee. That’s not in their DNA,” Zwick said. “They’re genuinely interested in a candidate they can get excited about and get behind.”
Notice two top candidates that were not invited – Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy. Why would that be? Why not come together for someone who actually has a shot at winning primary races – like DeSantis? The only one of the four they invited with a shot is Nikki Haley, who seems to be inching up in some polls now. Pence, Christie, and Burgum have no chance at catching on with primary voters.
Other scheduled speakers at the summit are Anthropic AI CEO Dario Amodei, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and former attorney general Bill Barr.
Some donors are losing faith in DeSantis. However, he is the candidate with the most appealing record of any of the other not-Trump candidates. He’s the only military veteran running, he has Congressional experience, and he is a popular and successful governor. He turned a purplish swing state into a bright red large state. Isn’t that enough for them?
Romney and Ryan are way outside the world of regular Republican primary voters. Trump is way out in front in polls, for now, and both Romney and Ryan are never-Trumpers so it tracks that they are holding a secret-style of summit to try to take out Trump. They just picked the wrong candidates to do it. Romney isn’t running for re-election to the senate and Ryan has been in the corporate world since he left Congress.
Romney has a 54% favorability rating of all Utah voters who said they strongly or somewhat approve of Romney’s performance. His approval rating has gone up since he said he isn’t running for re-election.
I just don’t understand the logic. Why turn the summit into a waste of time, unless the deep pockets decide that Nikki Haley is their candidate. It’s debatable if she has a chance to win Republican primaries since the party leans more populist now. Haley is considered by many conservatives as too much of a neo-con to be the nominee. Maybe recent events in Israel will show that the United States has to lead or else bad actors fill the vacuum. Hamas didn’t start a war with Israel during the Trump presidency. Putin didn’t invade Ukraine when Trump was president. Trump was an isolationist when it came to foreign wars but he made a point to project strength and foreign leaders treaded lightly because they thought he was unpredictable. That was ok – it kept everyone in line. Joe Biden isn’t interested in foreign wars, either, but he projects weakness and vulnerability. That, and funding Iran with billions of dollars, is why we are where we are now. No one is afraid of Joe Biden.
One thing that is irritating about Romney is that he talks the talk of a never-Trumper but remember, he humiliated himself chasing a job in the Trump administration in 2016. Trump endorsed Romney in 2012, at Romney’s request. Romney supported Trump up until the gossip show video tape came out and then he delivered a scorching speech against Trump. Yet, as soon as Trump won the election, Romney was right there asking for a job in the cabinet. He thinks we don’t remember all that, I guess.
Trump endorsed Ryan and supported him as speaker. He worked with Ryan on tax cuts. We remember that, too.
All the secret drama seems like a waste of time. Do the candidates have so much free time that they can take off and hang out at a summit for a couple of days? I don’t think Romney and Ryan are the kingmakers they think they are.
I’ll just leave this here.
A strong performance from RDS. Cogent and lucid, clearly familiar with global security issues at a detailed level. Steady when he encountered pushback. He’s much more comfortable leaning into America’s capacity to project power. He should maintain this posture going forward. https://t.co/H0796GHewc
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) October 10, 2023