The problem with Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney ...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 5:29 PM

Sen. Mitt Romney told the country in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday that President Donald Trump does not have the character to be president. Careful to explain that he agrees with most of the President's tax policies, lest Republican voters think that he has veered to the left, Sen. Romney expressed worry that Trump has not lived up to the nation's ideals.

Sen. Romney's statement is not a profile in courage. Rather it is another example of the emptiness of the #nevertrump movement -- all talk and no action. Indeed, Mitt Romney essentially invented the brand. He was Jeff Flake before Flake started to complain. (This point is not lost on Trump, who tweeted Wednesday, "Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake?")

Donald Trump

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Jeff Flake

Mitt Romney

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US federal government

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US Republican Party

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Government organizations - US

US Congress

US Senate

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney famously made a blistering speech about why Trump should not be president. He mocked Trump's failure as a business leader and condemned the way he conducted himself in public. Romney took center stage to warn his party against going all in for Trump, using tough words to paint the reality television star as a person who could not be trusted with the keys of power.

Then, Romney did nothing. He even dined with Trump as talk swirled that he could be the new President's secretary of state nominee. Until now, Romney has remained largely silent during most of the Trump presidency.

Other Trump GOP critics such as Flake or former Sen. Bob Corker offered endless statements about what is wrong with the President, then, like Romney, took virtually no action to demonstrate their opposition or to constrain his power. They mostly watched as the President bashed key institutions and took dangerous steps to undermine law and order. And then they both left the Senate.

Like most congressional Republicans, Romney's quiet lack of action helped President Trump as much as the notorious and much louder GOP base has. Through inaction, they enabled Trumpism by allowing the party to perform its concern in public about Trump's behavior while doing nothing about it in practice.

During his run for the Senate in 2018, Romney went so far as to effectively align himself with the commander in chief showing that in reality, there is no daylight between the party and the President. He was one of many Republicans who decided to go all in when push came to shove on the campaign trail. It was not much of a surprise when the President endorsed him.

So now Romney wants to have at it once again -- this time possibly eying a primary challenge in 2020.

At this point, voters should assume there is nothing more to his op-ed, especially given the way he is so careful to endorse the policy agenda of the White House. He barely has a beef with any policy the President has pushed, other than deficits, and indicates that he wants to work with him as senator.

Is this really the sum total of Republican resistance? If so, Trump has little to worry about from his own party.

If Sen. Romney really wants to take a stand against the President, now that he's taking office in the Senate, he has a chance to show he is more than bluster. He can refuse to give Sen. Mitch McConnell his vote until the party stops supporting the President. He can use his seat as a bully pulpit to rail against the President, as well as Republicans such as McConnell, who have worked side by side with him and acted to protect the administration from investigation.

With Romney in the Senate, the public can follow his votes rather than his empty rhetoric.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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