Now that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has come out in opposition to President Donald Trump on the issue of obstruction of justice, as outlined in the Mueller report, the mainstream media is rushing to apologize to the former presidential candidate for doubting his warnings about Russia.
On Friday, Romney released a statement, essentially condemning President Trump's behavior in the days and weeks following the opening of Mueller's investigation, and accusing the Trump campaign of ignoring evidence that Russia was making a concerted effort to undermine the 2016 presidential elections.
"I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia – including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine," Romney wrote on social media.
Romney's words drew immediate scorn from the president's supporters, and even from the president himself, who chided Romney on Twitter by reminding him that, of the two of them, only one won the race for the White House.
But there was a group tickled pink by Romney's sudden re-appearance on the national scene: the mainstream media, who rushed to Romney's defense, and, flush with a newfound appreciation for the Utah senator and former opponent of President Barack Obama, issued tearful apologies for not taking Romney seriously enough when he mentioned, in the context of a 2012 presidential debate, that Russia was a significant geopolitical foe.
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman led the way.
"Romney described Russia as the greatest US geopolitical foe in his 2012 presidential campaign, and was broadly mocked. I was among reporters who should have given it more weight," she said on social media.
Additional context - Romney described Russia as the greatest US geopolitical foe in his 2012 presidential campaign, and was broadly mocked. I was among reporters who should have given it more weight. https://t.co/slHeAMmcoy— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 19, 2019
The New Yorker magazine's Ronan Farrow also engaged in an extended apology to the former Republican presidential candidate: "I’ll join this mea culpa. I aired interviews with Romney where I completely failed to grasp how prescient he was being about Russia."
I’ll join this mea culpa. I aired interviews with Romney where I completely failed to grasp how prescient he was being about Russia. https://t.co/LVXewv2pOP— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) April 20, 2019
Romney was right in 2012, and a little-publicized bit of the Mueller report actually proves it. Although the most talked-about part of the report is Mueller's accusations of obstruction of justice on the part of the president, the special counsel's team does not lay the blame for Russian interference at the foot of the Trump administration, though Mueller does say that the Trump campaign seemed oddly oblivious to Russian attempts to court their assistance in undermining the 2016 elections.
The blame for ignoring the Russian threat, Mueller's team says, is squarely on the Obama administration, which ignored Russian efforts at destabilization until the summer before the 2016 presidential election, when Obama's Department of Justice began to suspect Russian interference was leaning against then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Obama administration's efforts to curtail Russian hackers reached an apex only after the 2016 election, when Clinton herself was pushing the "Russian interference" excuse.
But the reality is, Romney wasn't simply "criticized" for saying Russia was the U.S.'s top geo-political foe. He was roundly mocked.
Obama himself earned widespread praise for telling Romney that the "eighties called" and that they "want their foreign policy back."
The only reason Romney is receiving sudden affection is his vocal opposition to President Trump.