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)
Mitt Romney, who seemingly only has the ability to speak out against Donald Trump, has spent the last few weeks virtue signaling his pants off over the Ukraine issue. While he can never be counted on to condemn Democrats for basically anything, he’s always there with a tweet on Trump to soak up those CNN backslaps. I’m told that’s the ultimate act of courage.
His plan may go deeper than gathering plaudits though. A new report says he’s rallying Republican Senators to remove the President from office, assuming the House every stops being terrified of voting to actually impeach.
Romney rejecting donors’ calls for him to primary Trump, but he’s planning to rally Senate Republicans to vote against Trump in impeachment trial. My latest:https://t.co/ps0SCpY8CC
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) October 8, 2019
There’s two parts to this. Let’s start with GOP donors begging Romney to run.
According to sources, donors have in recent days called the Utah senator and encouraged him to run against Trump in the primary. “There is a half-billion dollars on the sidelines from guys who are fed up with Trump,” a GOP donor told me.
I’m going to put aside everything I think about or don’t think about Trump for a second. Let’s pretend he doesn’t exist. How can any GOP donor be so idiotic as to not recognize that the party simply does not want another Mitt Romney run, nor a run by someone like him? Even if you despise Trump, Romney is not the alternative. You want to rally the base around Trump? Start pushing Romney to the forefront.
In that sense, it’s probably smart for him to not run directly against Trump. Instead, he’s doing the underhanded thing by trying to get him removed from office to clear a path.
Instead, a Romney adviser told me, Romney believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial. “He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus,” the adviser said. In recent days, Romney has been reaching out privately to key players in the Republican resistance, according to a person briefed on the conversations. “Romney is the one guy who could bring along Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.”
That highlighted sentence is the most Mitt Romney thing ever. Voters are sick of pompous cowards who only speak up when they think it will benefit them politically. Romney was nowhere to be found when Adam Schiff lied about contact with the whistle-blower. He completely lost his tongue on any matter dealing with the Trump-Russia investigation, the collapse of the Steele dossier, the lies about collusion, etc. When Obama did any number of things that were objectionable to conservatives during his tenure, Romney got lost in the woods.
But he sees an opening here with Trump that could help him politically, so he’s ready to speak up again. That’s not courage and it makes him the worst kind of Republican. It’s exactly why he’s never going to be a thing again.
As to him rallying Senators like Collins, Gardner, and Sasse, I’m skeptical. No doubt he will try, because again, he sees that as a path to 2020. But the only way any GOP Senators aside from Romney (and maybe Collins) vote to remove Trump is if they feel like it’s 100% safe in doing so. If they vote and it fails, they are finished in the party and they know it. That means Romney would need to gather another dozen plus votes from his own side and hold them all together over time. That’s just so unlikely as to be nearly impossible.
What we currently have is behavior by the President that we can argue back and forth on all day. Was it bad? Was it just turnabout being fair play given what Obama did investigating Trump? Was he actually just wanting a broad look at the 2016 election meddling, of which I’ve been assured by Mitt Romney is very important to get to the bottom of. I’m not here to convince you one way or the other. What I do believe is that there’s nothing impeachable here. There was no quid pro quo. We have the transcript and we know what it says and doesn’t say. Even the “smoking gun” text by Bill Taylor turned out to be based on a Politico article full of supposition, not actual direct knowledge.
In the absence of an actual, traditionally impeachable offense, Mitt Romney is just playing games again and noway should any Republican voter reward him for it. Any GOP donor or insider that thinks he’s making a comeback is deluding themselves and should probably come to their senses sooner rather than later.
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