Let’s keep this short and sweet. New Senator Mitt Romney’s op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday was a statement that had one purpose: if Trump falls apart, please put my name at the top of the list to replace him as the 2020 Presidential candidate.
Here’s the piece:
Mitt Romney: The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short.
The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.
It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.
There is no other viable explanation other than Romney wanting to plant the seeds of doubt among Republicans knowing that the next year is going to be challenging to the President. It’s an exceptionally misguided attempt, and I say that as someone who wishes a better conservative and person of stronger character could run for the GOP instead of Trump. But Romney’s not the guy, and at this point it would be political suicide for the GOP to consider anyone else unless the President himself decides not to run. If that happens, Vice President Mike Pence must be the guy.
Some might fall for the false notion that the Senator is simply speaking his conscience in hopes of changing the course of the administration, but if that’s the case, you don’t do it this way. President Trump has demonstrated an unwillingness to listen to reason, especially if it comes from a critical press. On the other hand, he’s been willing to listen to some voices in the White House and on Capitol Hill, which doesn’t get publicized but is apparent based on his actions and, in some cases, lack of actions. If that was Romney’s intent, he should have gone directly to the White House to voice his concerns.
No, his intention isn’t to change the President. Mitt Romney is throwing his name in the hat. He’s John Kasich. He’s Jeff Flake. One doesn’t have to be an avid Trump supporter to realize a GOP nomination coup would be bad idea for the party and the nation.