In case you didn’t see the news last week, Mitt Romney has decided that he will run for Senate from the great state of Utah in the 2018 midterms. Under most circumstances, a failed presidential party nominee running for a Senate seat wouldn’t be big news. It’d be the equivalent of LeBron James retiring to become a player-coach for Duke after realizing he couldn’t beat Golden State.
However, since the 2016 presidential election, Romney has been reimagined by much of the public, and many members on the right, as some sort of moral center and lead anti-Trumpist for the Republican Party. A man willing to call out President Donald Trump for his many foul and inappropriate deeds. Just check out these hits:
Who can forget Romney calling Trump a phony and a fraud during the 2016 presidential election season?
Or the remix version, when brave Romney called Trump a comforter of and cheerleader for racists after the president’s comments on the Charlottesville, Va., terror attack? From Facebook:
Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Just so we’re clear, the feeling was mutual. Donald Trump holds a lot of grudges against Mitt Romney.
He’s never forgiven Romney for calling him a fraud and a phony; he was furious that prominent Republicans wanted Romney to run as a third-party candidate in 2016; and last, Trump probably can’t get over the fact that even though they’re only a year apart in age, Romney’s mane is always perfectly laid, while Trump’s head looks like he’s had more implants than Stormy Daniels.
Demonstrating the penchant for pettiness that has defined his presidency, Trump spent the first few months after the election engaging in an elaborate Lucy-and-the-football scheme, with Romney doing the most earnest Charlie Brown impression possible. And after months of publicly wining and dining Romney, Trump turned around and gave the job of secretary of state to Rex Tillerson, a Russian-business crony with less experience than on Romney’s pre-Massachusetts résumé.
However, that wasn’t enough; late last year, Trump actively tried to block Romney from running for Senate. In other words, if Romney had even the slightest drop of personal integrity, or even cared about his brand as the moral opposite of Trump, or wanted to keep those rumors alive that he might actually primary Trump in 2020, he’d stick to his guns like he did in 2016, right? He would run for Utah Senate as the anti-Trump or at least make it clear that he was his own man.
Except no. Mitt Romney is a spineless, craven politician thirsty for any semblance of relevance after America rejected his brand of disingenuous, sanctimonious leadership.
Any dreams that he would stand up to Trump (and those had to be drug-induced fantasies born of nothing more than an unrealistic faith in a politician who said that 47 percent of the country wasn’t worth talking to) went out the window when he tweeted this on Monday:
Mind you, Trump has never apologized or changed his tune about Charlottesville; within the last week, more women have come out to accuse him of sexual improprieties; and he was defending an alleged abusive spouse less than two weeks ago—and that was after he wholeheartedly endorsed a man accused of molesting teenage girls.
However, now Romney is proud to have this endorsement that was supposedly too awful to accept two years ago. I would say that the voters of Utah deserve better, but they elected Mia Love, so there is that.
I think conservatives deserve better, because if they actually want to run someone for the Senate who will at least morally stand up to Trump, they might want to nominate someone who can at least get off his hands and knees first.