FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 file photo, Donald Trump greets Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, after announcing his endorsement of Romney during a news conference in Las Vegas. Trump is endorsing Romney in Utah’s Senate race, another sign that the two Republicans are burying the hatchet after a fraught relationship. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

 

The Washington Examiner has a substantive piece on Mitt Romney and his attempt to close his political career as Senator from Utah. Romney is probably a lock for the seat despite him coming in second in the GOP nominating convention. The big question is how Senator Romney will interact with President Trump after the rather disastrous relationship they had during the 2016 campaign.

This is how CNN reported on it:

Mitt Romney delivered a sweeping broadside against Donald Trump on Thursday, laying into the Republican presidential front-runner with a sharper attack than any of the party’s 2016 contenders have made against the billionaire business mogul.

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”

Romney said that “dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” pointing to his “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”
There’s irony in Romney’s speech: Just four years ago, he courted Trump’s endorsement — even after Trump had led the “birther” controversy against President Barack Obama, insisting that Obama release his birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen.

(Here is my critique of Romney’s critique of Trump at the time of the speech.)

And let’s not forget the spectacle of Romney interviewing for and being rejected as Secretary of State. (My post on why he was a terrible choice.)

Via the Washington Examiner:

Indeed, in conversations with voters who visited his booth at the Utah GOP convention, Romney crowed about a personal relationship with Trump that goes back decades, before either were politicians. Romney paid Trump perhaps the ultimate compliment when he said that the president’s achievements are similar to what he would have done had he won the White House six years ago.

“His first year is very similar to things I’d have done my first year,” Romney said in response to one of the many questions he received regarding how he plans to work with Trump given their complicated history. “The things he’s actually done have been better than I expected.”

Romney isn’t the first Republican to be tied in knots discussing his support for the president.

In one exchange, he added a verbal inflection on the word “doing” as he attempted to distinguish between Trump’s rhetoric and his actions, and explain how he reconciles his opposition to the troubling things he says (and tweets) with what has turned out to be a pretty traditional GOP governing agenda that any of his opponents in the 2016 presidential primary would have pursued.

“If he says something which I believe is racist or divisive and serious, then I’ll point out that I disagree with that,” Romney told one voter. “But I’m an honest enough person that if he does something right — and by the way he’s done a number of things right — I’ll be fully supportive of those things. I will support the president’s agenda when it’s good for Utah, and good for the country, and so far that’s been the case.”

It is hard to see some of this as being anything other than Romney reverting to his well know Pander-Bear persona. There is a chance that Trump is more popular in Utah than Romney and so a close attachment to Trump is needed if he is to get the nomination. But seriously, does anyone think a party apparatchik (NTTAWWT) like Romney would have Trump’s record on the nomination of conservative judges? Would guys like Pruitt and Zinke be at EPA and Interior? Would a pro-abstinence activist be heading up HHS’s Title X Family Planning program? Would he have bullied Kim Jong Un to the peace table? Would he have left the Paris Accord? Would he have betrayed his Chamber of Commerce brethren and cracked down on illegal immigration? No. None of that. He would have been a more respectable and aesthetically pleasing President, for sure. But would he have appointed similar people to top positions? No way possible.