Former Republican presidential candidate and current U.S. Senate candidate from Utah Mitt Romney said that if he is elected to the Senate he will not hesitate to speak up against any policy of President Donald Trump’s that he does not agree with.
Romney promised that he would be an “independent voice within the Republican Party” if he is elected and said that he will speak his mind, good or bad, about the president and his policies.
In an editorial written for The Salt Lake Tribune and appearing Sunday Romney explained his position this way:
“People ask me why I feel compelled to express my disagreements with the president. I believe that when you are known as a member of a ‘team,’ and the captain says or does something you feel is morally wrong, if you stay silent you tacitly assent to the captain’s posture. I appreciate the argument made by those who believe we should stay silent, but I cannot subscribe to it.”
Romney’s relationship with Trump has been difficult ever since a speech in 2016 when Romney called the president a “fraud” and a “phony.” This was part of a failed effort by Romney and others to derail Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination. In the beginning establishment Republicans thought Trump had no chance to win the nomination, and by the time they figured out this was not true, it was too late to stop Trump’s momentum.
After Romney’s efforts to stop him, Trump started attacking the former GOP standard bearer very harshly on Twitter and in his public appearances. Things seemed to have thawed in the relationship after Trump was elected and Romney’s name was floated as a candidate to be Secretary of State. This didn’t pan out, however, and later Trump tried to to keep Utah’s Republican senior senator Orrin Hatch from retiring so that Romney would not be able to run for senator from the heavily Mormon and strongly Republican state.
In his newspaper editorial Romney said that he “will continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
He also promised not to overdo it, saying he would express his opinions about the president “only when I believe it is a matter of substantial significance.”
“A critical part of being president is shaping domestic and foreign policy. Just as important, the president of the United States shapes the character of our country,” Romney wrote. “I sometimes wonder which has the more lasting effect, policy or character? I hope for both.”
It appears certain that Mitt Romney will be the next U.S. Senator from Utah, and it is doubtful that he will do anything other than vote the party line since he is known for his conservative views. However, given his independent views about Trump, it is possible that he will become an outspoken critic of the president’s “divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, and dishonest” behavior. And that would be a good thing.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.