Sincere question for Mitt Romney: Why did you bother running for Senate if not to stand up to Trump?

“Why?” It’s a question I think many of us find rising to our lips—along with a little bile reflux—when pondering the presidency of Donald Trump. And I’m not even talking about the question of why our electoral system declares someone the victor after losing by 3 million votes. Today I want to explore the question of why—other than Rep. Justin Amash of Wisconsin, who deserves great credit for his call to impeach the president—Republicans in Congress have remained publicly in lockstep with Individual 1 on the Mueller report.

I’d like to focus on one Republican who has been particularly disappointing: former Republican presidential nominee and now Sen. Mitt Romney. Romney has a tortured history with Mr. 46% of the Popular Vote (one percent fewer than Romney won four years earlier, which you know irks him to no end). Romney asked Trump to endorse him in 2012 (Trump claims there was begging involved, not that I believe anything he says). In March 2016, in an attempt to convince Republican voters to choose anyone other than Trump, Romney spoke out:

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.” Romney said that “dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” pointing to his “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”

Romney also added this via tweet:


If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 3, 2016

Given that Trump had already established himself as the head birther by the time he endorsed Romney, we can obviously take this claim with a grain of the stuff for which that great big lake in Utah is named. The point is that, by 2016, Romney had already gone on record with his feelings about Trump.

Just after the inauguration, Trump interviewed Romney (see the above photo) for the job of secretary of State, a job in which, perhaps, Romney thought he could serve the national interest in some way. Personally, I think Trump thought he’d bring in Romney just to tease him, and never considered for a second hiring someone he considered to be disloyal. In other words, Trump played Romney for a fool.

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