Is Mitt Romney Preparing for a Presidential Run?

Mitt Romney — Utah’s newest senator — had a long and storied political career even before he took over Orrin Hatch’s seat in the Senate. So it’s not that surprising to see Romney dive right into the thick of things — including publishing op-eds about bipartisanship and taking jabs at the president.

Romney as a foil for President Donald Trump makes perfect sense in many ways. One of the elder statesmen of the GOP, the former governor and one-time presidential nominee has a lot invested in upholding and supporting party power and the the conservative political structure.

An upstart newbie who not only bucks the Republican party’s rules but also jumped the usual standards when it comes to working one’s way up the political ladder throws the entire system of money and influence off-kilter.

And then, of course, there was that sad, sad moment when Romney — who stoically rebuked Trump through most of the 2016 presidential campaign — came crawling to the then-president-elect once a cabinet spot surfaced for him, only to be horrifyingly embarrassed when the dinner turned out to be nothing more than a humiliating payback by a man who never lets go of a grudge.

The newly-minted Senator Romney is now enjoying his own moment of payback – and doing it in style. “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short,” blared the headline of the Washington Post editorial Romney penned, even before his swearing in occurred. In the January 1 op-ed, he promised to serve as a check on a president who is drunk on power and eager to alienate foreign allies.

Romney didn’t stop there, either. When President Trump toyed with the idea of declaring a national emergency to get the funding for a border wall that he couldn’t obtain through the Congressional budget, Romney was one of the Republicans who rejected that idea.

“I don’t want to see a declaration of national emergency,” Romney told MSNBC. “I think that’s an action that would be taken in the most extreme circumstances, and, hopefully, we don’t reach that.”

Of course, Romney may not simply be a Republican political leader experiencing a moment of conscience now that the party’s figurehead is running amok. Many suspect that he’s positioning himself for another future presidential run — and he’s grooming himself as the reasonable, rational alternative to President Trump as part of his strategy.

And if some had their way, Romney wouldn’t even wait for 2024; he would challenge President Trump head to head in 2020 instead. Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested Romney officially face off against President Trump in a primary, calling the president “amoral” and arguing that someone has to stop him.

Romney, however, claims he is absolutely not planning another presidential campaign — either in the near future or further down the road. “I am certainly not going to do that,” Romney told reporters on January 2.  “As you know, I’ve run twice before. I’m not doing it again. And I’m not doing anything to position myself in that regard.”

Even if Romney was considering another run, it would be hard to envision the GOP picking him as the nominee. Much of the Republican Party has moved even further to the right under President Trump, with moderates leaving to either support independent candidates or even Democratic ones.

For those still in the party, Romney was the failed candidate who couldn’t take down Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012 — a loss that left many social conservatives angry at the idea that a less “centerist” fiscally conservative nominee like Rick Santorum might have been able to secure a win instead.

Plus, Romney is unlikely to ever shake his health care history from his political past. As the governor of Massachusetts, his health care reform package for the state offered the blueprint for what eventually became the Affordable Care Act. After spending more than a decade trying to dismantle Obamacare, it’s hard to imagine the GOP offering the top of the ticket to the ACA’s original architect.

Whatever Romney’s political future — higher aspirations or not — for the moment he’s simply acting as a thorn in President Donald Trump’s side. Frankly, that’s the one position I think we can all agree that we are happy to see him undertake.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

33 comments

Shae Lee
Shae Lee3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Fred L. - If it's any consolation to you, Mitt's mutt pissed all over the roof of his car. Imagine the poor creature's terror? I'm guessing his bowels got riled up, too.

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

Romney criticized Russia in a debate, and Obama smugly corrected him and said Russia was not evil. Now the Democrats are blaming Russia for their loss to divert attention from their election fraud, and corrupt super delegate rule. Bernie Sanders would be our president if the Democrats had not rigged the primary. The Wikileaks emails were proof of how evil the Democrats are.

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Fred L
Fred L3 months ago

I'm still pissed at him for strapping his dog to the roof of his car.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you.

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Debbi W
Debbi W3 months ago

Lee J. is so right. Romney ranted on about his hard stand against the Russians, but when the vote came to list the sanctions on an oligarch, he folded and voted with the rest of the sycophants. He can't be trusted any more than the rest of them.

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Lee Juslin
Lee Juslin3 months ago

Don't bother counting on Romney to stand up and do the right thing. He's an empty suit.

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Barbara V
Barbara V3 months ago

ICK, ICK, ICK. The GOP must be turning over stones to see who's under there to run.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan B3 months ago

Joan E.,
Quite simple. The party never really supported him. They reluctantly backed him when he won the party nomination. The party bosses would love to have someone (anyone) else win the 2020 nomination.

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Alea C
Alea C3 months ago

I hope he does. It won't get him anywhere, but maybe it will bring him closer to bankruptcy.

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