Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) isn’t exactly beloved within the Republican Party, having twice voted to convict former President Donald Trump after his impeachments.
But the 75-year-old lawmaker is a realist. After two dozen Trump-backed candidates pulled out victories on Republican primaries on Tuesday, Romney said the former president is poised for a 2024 re-run — which he could win.
“It’s hard to imagine anything that would derail his support,” Romney told Axios. “So if he wants to become the nominee in ’24, I think he’s very likely to achieve that.”
Romney also made a frank admission. “I don’t delude myself into thinking I have a big swath of the Republican Party,” he said. And he admitted that Trump’s power remains strong.
“He’s the leader of the party, that’s clear … If he decides to run, he will be the nominee,” Romney added.
The Utah senator has been persona non grata in the party since his votes against Trump, prompting him to take evasive action.
“Republican Sen. Mitt Romney reportedly likes to go incognito while in Palm Beach, Florida,” Business Insider wrote. “The Utah conservative has been wearing hats while dining out in the wealthy oceanside enclave, where he has a vacation home, in an effort to disguise himself, a family friend told the authors of the new book ‘This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.'”
“If he were recognized by Trump supporters there, there was a good chance he would be harassed,” New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns wrote. For the record, Trump’s home at the Mar-a-Lago resort is also in Palm Beach.
Romney might have good reason to go incognito. The day before the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, Trump supporters harangued Romney as he awaited a flight to D.C. at the Salt Lake City International Airport. A viral video released at the time showed an angry woman calling him an “absolute joke” and other passengers on the plane chanted “traitor” at the senator.
The Mormon senator twice bucked the party to oppose Trump, whom he called in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign a “phony.” In February 2020, Romney joined every Democrat in the Senate to vote for removing Trump from office for what he said was an “appalling abuse of public trust.”
Less than a year later, Romney was among seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial in connection with the Capitol riot, although the president was eventually acquitted by the Senate.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.