Donald Trump went on yet another rant, this time against Sen. Mitt Romney on his Truth Social platform after the Utah senator wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal on Monday, proposing a plan to stop Trump from winning the GOP presidential nomination. Analysts said the plan was unlikely to succeed.
Late Tuesday night, Trump lashed out at both Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who in May declared that the GOP should come up with another candidate because Trump was simply unelectable. Trump then asked his followers to weigh in and spent hours reposting derogatory comments, in particular about Romney, The Independent reported.
Trump wrote on Truth Social:
”Who is a worse Senator, John ‘The Stiff’ Cornyn of Texas, or Mitt ‘The Loser’ Romney of Massachusetts (Utah?)? They are both weak, ineffective, and very bad for the Republican Party, and our Nation. With even modestly skilled opposition, they’’ll lose their next-Election. Who could even forget Mitt proudly marching, with full mask, down a once proud Washington, D.C. street with BLM and Rioters? Likewise there’s Cornyn, always quick to surrender to the Dems, giving them anything they want?”
In June 2020, Romney tweeted a picture showing him wearing a face mask as he marched in a protest in Washington, D.C., after the police killing of George Floyd.
Romney, a Mormon, became a full-time Utah resident after he lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama. He was elected to the Senate in 2018. He was the only Republican senator to vote twice to convict Trump in his Senate impeachment trials.
The twice-impeached, twice-indicted (and counting) former president was enraged after Romney published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday headlined: “Donors, Don’t Fund a Trump Plurality.”
“Despite Donald Trump’s apparent inevitability, a baker’s dozen Republicans are hoping to become the party’s 2024 nominee for president. That is possible for any of them if the field narrows to a two-person race before Mr. Trump has the nomination sewn up. For that to happen, Republican megadonors and influencers—large and small—are going to have to do something they didn’t do in 2016: get candidates they support to agree to withdraw if and when their paths to the nomination are effectively closed. That decision day should be no later than, say, Feb. 26, the Monday following the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”
Romney noted that if candidates stay in the race for a long time, they will split the non-Trump vote and hand the nomination to Trump. That’s because unlike Democratic presidential primaries, a plurality is all that’s needed for GOP winner-take-all primaries. Romney concluded by writing:
“Our party and our country need a nominee with character, driven by something greater than revenge and ego, preferably from the next generation. Family, friends and campaign donors are the only people who can get a lost-cause candidate to exit the race. After Feb. 26, they should start doing just that.”
Well, good luck with that plan, Mitt. It’s simply too little, too late.
It didn’t take long for The Washington Post’s Philip Bump to write an analysis on Tuesday titled, “The fatal flaws in Mitt Romney’s plans to stop Trump.” Bump said there were three big problems with Romney’s latest plan to stop Trump. First, Bump said that Romney was wrong about how things worked in 2015-2016. Even though Trump was only getting about one-third of the support in pre-primary polls, it didn’t mean that two-thirds of Republicans opposed him. As the primaries proceeded and candidates dropped out, Trump kept picking up some of the support those candidates had enjoyed, until his nomination was secured.
Second, Bump pointed out that it’s unlikely that the Republicans could replay the scenario that occurred with the Democrats in 2020 when Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democratic candidates dropped out of the race to back Biden after the South Carolina primary. Bump noted that “the Democratic nominating process is more equitable for candidates than the Republican one” and that “the GOP process disproportionately rewards whoever is leading in the polls.” He said that waiting to see which Republican emerges as the most viable non-Trump candidate means letting Trump build up an early lead in delegates.
The third problem with Romney’s proposal, according to Bump, is that Trump “is much better positioned now than he was in 2015 or 2016.” National polling averages show Trump has consistently been at or over 50% since the beginning of the year. And as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign has cratered, Trump is near 50% as the first choice of Republican voters in the early states of Iowa and Nebraska. Bump concluded:
These numbers can shift, but they already undermine Romney’s argument. The idea that there is a plurality of Republicans who oppose Trump might have been true in 2016, but there’s no evidence of that now. Consolidating around one candidate seems, at least at this point, like it would not have much effect on Trump’s march to the nomination.
Matthew Dowd, who served as President George W. Bush’s chief strategist in the 2004 presidential campaign, in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC pointed out another flaw in Romney’s proposal—his emphasis on the influence of megadonors.
"It (the GOP nominating process) is controlled by small donors, and Donald Trump has shown that his ability to raise money, $30, $40, $50 at a time, and he can outraise anybody else," said Dowd. “Mitt Romney wants to signal to megadonors what to do in this process. They really don't control the process. The students are in charge of campus today, and the deans have left town. And that's what Mitt Romney doesn't seem to understand about the Republican Party."
Dowd, who is now a Democrat, did have a suggestion as to what Romney could do if he wanted to make a real difference.
"If Mitt Romney really wanted to have an effect, Mitt Romney could stand up and say, me, and Sen. [Lisa] Murkowski (R-AK) and maybe one or two others, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we're going to become independents and caucus with the Democrats in the Senate in order to hold the MAGA side of the party accountable.
"That would send more shock waves through the system and maybe get people to actually do something about Donald Trump.”
In another Truth Social post, Trump managed to put the shiv into the GOP presidential primary opponent who has been most outspoken in criticizing the former president. He accused former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of costing Romney the 2012 presidential race by embracing President Barack Obama on the Jersey Shore after Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012. Trump wrote:
Christie was so star struck with Barack Hussein Obuma (sic), that Romney, who is a terrible politician and horrible representative of the Republican Party, never had a chance of winning the Presidency. Christie sold Romney out, making one of the worst Convention Speeches in History—Virtually not even mentioning Romney by name. Romney sat watching, in a trance—He couldn’t believe it!
Christie helped Trump prepare for the 2020 presidential debates with Joe Biden, only to become very ill with COVID-19 shortly afterward. Trump was carrying the virus during the Sept. 29 debate and was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days later. Christie’s relationship with Trump further deteriorated after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Trump has also blamed Christie for recommending the appointment of Christopher Wray to be the FBI director. Trump and his allies have castigated Wray and the FBI for their role in the investigation into his handling of classified documents, including the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate, that resulted in a multi-count indictment.
As for Romney, there are already signs that he is going to face a MAGA challenger should he decide to seek reelection to the Senate in 2024. In May, the mayor of Riverton, Utah, Trent Staggs, announced his candidacy for Romney’s seat, according to the AP.
“The only thing I’ve seen him fight for are the Establishment, ‘wokeness,’ open borders, impeaching President Trump and putting us even deeper into debt,” Staggs said in his announcement video that highlights Romney’s votes to impeach Trump, according to the AP.
The AP reported that other Republicans, including former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and state Attorney General Sean Reyes, were considering challenging Romney from the right. Romney retains widespread popularity in Utah because his family ranks among the most prominent members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many Mormons have had reservations about Trump’s moral character.
But let’s not forget that Romney sought and accepted Trump’s endorsement in 2012.
Now Romney is clearly on Trump’s enemies list.
And look at who else has joined Trump in criticizing Romney: U.S. Rep. George Santos, who called the Utah senator “the biggest clown we’ve seen in government.” Certainly takes one to know one.