Senators, beware: Mitt Romney will judge your tenure.
The normally reserved 76-year-old Utah Republican has some scathing views on his peers, according to a forthcoming book, excerpts of which were released minutes after Romney announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election next year.
In “Romney: A Reckoning,” out Oct. 24 and excerpted by The Atlantic, author McKay Coppins describes the 2012 Republican presidential candidate as “fascinated by the strange social ecosystem that governs the Senate,” He even spent time in the chamber’s gym “studying his colleagues as if he were an anthropologist, writing down his observations in his diary.”
Among those observations: Then-Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), walked on the treadmill in loafers and suit pants. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) rode the exercise bikes so slowly that Romney couldn’t resist taking a look at their setups.
Mitt Romney has been a political figurehead for roughly three decades. SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
“Durbin set at 1 and Brown at 8. 🙂 :). “My setting is 15, not that I’m bragging,” he noted in his journal, according to Coppins.
Romney also had harsh words for some of his fellow Republicans, criticizing some newcomers as blatant political opportunists who fear crossing paths with former President Donald Trump.
“I don’t know if I can disrespect anyone but JD Vance,” Romney told Coppins, saying he had crossed paths with the Ohio Republican years earlier and been impressed by his best-selling book “Hillbilly Elegy” and his thoughtful reflections. about the future of the Republican Party without falling under the spell of the future 45th president.
Donald Trump has sporadically used Mitt Romney as a kind of political punching bag. fake images
But when Vance ran for the Senate in 2022 and echoed some of Trump’s wildest attacks on Democrats and President Biden, Romney began to sour him.
“I wonder, how is that decision made? How can you cross such a clear line like that and for what? —the septuagenarian vented. “It’s not like you’re going to be famous and powerful because you became a United States senator. It’s like, ‘Really? Are you selling yourself so cheap?’”
Another object of Romney’s ire is Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), part of a group that the Utahn said had “put politics above the interests of liberal democracy and the Constitution” by oppose the results of the 2020 election.
Romney expected Mitch McConnell to be a cold and calculating strategist, but discovered that he was more of an ego manager.REUTERS
“Josh Hawley is one of the smartest people in the Senate, if not the smartest, and Ted Cruz [R-Texas] “They could give you a run for your money,” Romney told Coppins, adding, “You know better than to believe” Trump’s claim that massive fraud cost him a second term.
A spokesman for Hawley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Romney’s years-long criticism of Trump, dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign, has made him a pariah among many Republican voters — though not, he insists, among his fellow Republicans.
Mitt Romney lamented that many of his colleagues base many of their votes on how this can affect their electoral chances. REUTERS
“Almost without exception,” Romney told Coppins, “they shared my vision of the president.” One of Romney’s colleagues allegedly told him that Trump “has none of the qualities you would want in a president, and all the qualities you wouldn’t have.”
One of those colleagues, Coppins writes, was Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who largely pandered to Trump in public while denigrating him to Romney as an “idiot” behind closed doors.
“You’re lucky,” McConnell told Romney at one point. “You can say the things we all think. You are in a position to say things about him that we all agree with but that we cannot say.”
Mitt Romney was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Donald Trump for a second time. Three of them have disappeared. AFP via Getty Images
During Trump’s first impeachment trial in early 2020, McConnell seemed impressed with the argument advanced by House Democrats that Trump had committed high crimes and misdemeanors by threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the Kiev government will investigate the Biden family’s dealings in the country.
“They got him,” the Kentuckian told Romney at one point, according to Coppins.
“Well, the defense will say that Trump was only investigating the Bidens’ corruption,” Romney said in his response.
Mitt Romney has been deeply critical of President Biden, arguing that he is avoiding the deep budget reforms the nation needs.REUTERS
“If you believe that,” McConnell allegedly responded, “I have a bridge I can sell you.”
McConnell told Coppins that he did not remember the conversation with Romney and that the quotes did not match what he thought at the time.
Romney was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump in the first impeachment trial, becoming the first senator from an impeached president’s party to do so and ignoring pleas from his 2012 running mate, the former House Speaker Paul Ryan to acquit him.
Looking ahead to 2024, Romney told Coppins that he had approached Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is also up for re-election next year, last April to try to form a new political party. While Manchin has publicly mulled an independent run for president, Romney said his idea was better and warned that any significant third-party candidacy would return the White House to Trump.
“Today I would say 50-50,” Romney, who claims to have written his wife Ann for president in 2016, told the Washington Post in a separate interview about his impending retirement. “If I had to bet, I’d say it could be anything. A lot can happen between now and then.”