Speculation had been building in Utah over whether Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, would seek another term as that state’s junior senator. Now it’s official. Romney will retire when his term expires in January 2025.
He opted to retire in a stab against remaining in the gerontocracy.
“At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Mr. Romney, 76, said in a video statement. “They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”
The Deseret News notes the senator enjoyed a 56% approval rating among Utah Republicans last month. Thus he is not leaving office under a cloud of unpopularity. Fifty-four percent of all Utahns
Romney Acts as the Anti-Trump
Romney built a reputation as an independent voice on the liberal end of the Republican Party due to his willingness to align with Democrats and poke former President Donald Trump in the eye.
Romney joined Democrats as the sole Republican vote in his first impeachment trial and voted to convict him again in the second trial. His loathing of Trump earned him the ire of his supporters, particularly on Jan. 6, 2021.
“In case you have not heard this, I just got a call from Angus King, who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th,” a text written by Romney during the Capitol riot and obtained by Atlantic reporter McKay Coppins read. “There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require.”
Romney complained about Trump’s desire to continuously relitigate the last election.
“There’s no question that the Republican Party today is in the shadow of Donald Trump,” Mr. Romney said on Wednesday, claiming that conservatives in his party were more focused on “resentment and settling scores and revisiting the 2020 election.”
Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, argues that Romney’s focus on countering Joe Biden has improved his standing.
“One is he’s been quite vocal in his opposition to President (Joe) Biden on several things recently, particularly in terms of the economy, foreign policy, and public lands. Sen. Romney has taken a pretty firm and very public stand against Biden’s policies on those issues,” said Perry.
Mitt Romney Controversial From the Start
Romney is the son of late Michigan Gov. George Romney who hailed from the liberal wing of the Republican Party. Mitt Romney has been a lot like his father. The elder Romney refused to support Sen. Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 and staked out liberal positions that set him apart from Ronald Reagan and the ascendant right-wing of the party.
After becoming governor of Massachusetts in 2003, Romney faced the first in the nation legalization of same-sex marriage. He also pushed through Romneycare, which became a blueprint for Obamacare less than a decade later.
In some ways, Romney’s failure to fight back hard against Barack Obama’s effort to paint him as a “vulture capitalist” during the 2012 election and to contest voting irregularities set the stage for Trump’s rise in 2016. Voters viewed Romney as weak, and Obama steamrolled him. His weakness and that of John McCain against Obama paved the way for Trump to emerge and appeal to voters who were tired of being steamrolled.
Obama’s comments during their debates about Russia as the foremost threat to the U.S. and the size of the U.S. Navy seem quaint, and Romney stands vindicated.
Romney’s lack of passion or zeal and effort to be inoffensive paved the way for Trump as a reaction against Obama’s pugnaciousness.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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