Mitt Romney changed his Twitter location from Massachusetts to Utah on Tuesday, which means its almost certain he’ll be running for its open senate seat.
First screenshot: 3:12 PM EST today
Second screenshot: 5:45 PM EST today
See if you can spot the difference. pic.twitter.com/OuxM7sc2cd
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 2, 2018
Senate President pro tempore Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) officially announced his retirement this week, which means that deep-red Utah will have an open senate seat to be filled in this November’s midterm election. Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is widely viewed as the favorite to keep the seat in Republican hands.
Of course, Mitt Romney has been viewed as one of the most fiercely anti-Trump members of the Republican Party ever since his speech denouncing then-candidate Trump in March of 2016. Romney also made headlines when he attacked Alabama Republican senate candidate Roy Moore in a viral tweet, siding with the women who accused him of sexually pursuing them as teenagers while he was an adult.
But don’t get it twisted — Mitt Romney would still be an unabashed supporter of President Trump’s agenda if elected to the U.S. Senate. This is because Trumpism and Republican ideology have now become interchangeable.
Liberals who are excited about Mitt Romney as a possible Trump foil would do well to remember that shortly before Trump officially became president, Romney paid him a visit and kissed his ring, instantly becoming the subject of the internet’s ridicule following a photo showing him visibly uncomfortable during a dinner with a grinning Trump. Romney was angling to be Secretary of State in the Trump administration, though Trump ended up choosing ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson despite Romney’s pathetic groveling.
Let’s also not forget that in 2012, Romney ran a presidential campaign based on open disdain for the working class, once telling a roomful of wealthy donors that the 47 percent of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes were government moochers “who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This was the same presidential campaign that tapped now House Speaker Paul Ryan as its vice presidential pick, after Ryan submitted a budget proposal that included privatizing Medicare in order to pay for billions of dollars in handouts to the super-rich. Romney also declared $77,000 in losses on an Olympic dressage horse named Rafalca, told a crowd of working-class people in Detroit that his wife drove “a couple of Cadillacs,” and owns four homes — including one with a car elevator.
It’s also important to remember that Senate Republicans who have come out publicly against President Trump still almost unilaterally support his policies. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) denounced Trump in a speech when announcing his retirement for the senate, yet FiveThirtyEight pointed out that he’s still voted with Trump more than 90 percent of the time. Outgoing Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), another anti-Trumper, has voted with Trump 85 percent of the time. It’s hard to imagine Mitt Romney offering any opposition to Trump’s legislative agenda if he ends up replacing Orrin Hatch.
If liberals really want a U.S. Senator from Utah robustly opposing President Trump, they should mobilize voters behind a Democratic challenger there like they did in Alabama, where newly elected Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) became the state’s first Democratic senator in more than 20 years despite unprecedented voter suppression efforts and Trump’s campaigning. Mitt Romney will only offer empty rhetoric and unflinching support for whatever Trump wants.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.