WASHINGTON — Republican Senator Mitt Romney seems to be everywhere these days. A place where he does not go? On the campaign trail for another crack in the White House.
” This will not happen again. I went there, tried twice. I’m happy to be a senator,” Romney, 75, told HuffPost when asked about a 2024 presidential election.
The Utah Republican has certainly been a key player in the Senate recently. He helped broker a bipartisan deal on additional COVID-19 aid, and he’s part of a bipartisan effort focused on delivering critical electoral reforms to make sure Donald Trump-style power grabs are harder to undo. achieve. He even surprisingly voted to confirm President Joe Biden’s historic Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, earlier this month.
Last month, one of Utah’s largest newspapers ran a column that laid out the case for a 2024 Romney bid. “With Democrats on the ropes and Republicans divided, Mitt Romney should consider standing run for president,” said the article in The Deseret News.
As the column noted, Romney would have very little chance of making it out of what is expected to be a heavily crowded GOP primary with Trump loyalists. The former president still holds a firm grip on the party, and establishment Republicans who refuse to bend the knee have often followed the path of the dinosaur.
Romney is the only GOP senator to vote to convict Trump in his two impeachment trials — for denying Ukraine aid to bolster his presidential campaign and for instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. against the US Capitol. Breaking with his party earned Romney deep scorn from the former president and his supporters.
Romney himself thinks Trump’s grip on the GOP is unmatched. Last year, he predicted that Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination if he ran again in 2024. (Although, to be fair, he doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to predictions.)
“I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names put forward as potential candidates in 2024, if you put President Trump among the Republicans, he wins in a landslide,” Romney said.
Still, some “never Trump” Republicans might decide to run for president in 2024 anyway, if only for the opportunity to denounce Trump on the debate stage. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), another Trump critic, told HuffPost he would “love” the chance.
“Even if he crushed me, like in a primary, being able to get up and call the trash cans is just a necessary thing, no matter who it is. … I think that would be fun,” Kinzinger said.
But Romney may have other ideas. In honor of former senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who died over the weekend, with a heartfelt speech in the Senate on Wednesday, Romney hailed his predecessor as a “lion of the Senate” who left “an indelible mark” on the institution with its decades of public service.
“I’ll never have Orrin Hatch’s legacy. I think I’ll stay for 40 years, but I think that’s unlikely,” Romney later joked to HuffPost.
The senator has yet to decide whether to run for re-election, telling The Hill he hasn’t given much thought to it. He hasn’t spent much energy fundraising either, despite the likelihood of a Trump-backed primary in 2024.