Mitt Romney is a stopped clock. That was amply established during his unsuccessful run for president in 2012. One minute, he tried to sound like a man of the people. But in another minute, he sounded like the entitled one-percenter that he was and still is.
For all of Romney’s failings, though, you could not seriously question his fitness for office. That was why the nation stood up and took notice when he penned a blistering op-ed in The Washington Post just 48 hours before he was due to take office as the next Senator from Utah. Romney put it bluntly–it was obvious that Donald Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office” of president. Even though Willard may agree with some of Trump’s policies, he rightly noted that Trump hasn’t come close to doing the most important part of his job–to “unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.'”
It should come as no surprise that a lot of people in Trumpland had a big problem with that. And it literally started from the top, with Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
Really, Brad? A government shutdown occurred with complete one-party control in Washington, the stock market had its worst year in a decade, and ordinary people are being squeezed by your boss’s tariffs. If you think calling that out is an act of “jealousy,” you’re delusional.
As you might expect, Trump himself couldn’t resist a dig.
No, Mr. Trump. Romney is a team player. For now, anyway, he’s showing he’s on Team America. If you believe that Team America is synonymous with Team Trump, you’re even more of a narcissist than we thought.
But apparently one Senator seems to think Team America and Team Trump are one and the same–Lindsey Graham. In an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade for the latter’s Fox News Radio show, Graham warned Romney that he’d best toe the line–or his newly minted constituents could pay the price.
So I’m hoping that Mitt will sit down with the president privately, share his concerns with the president about whatever drives his thinking but also commit to the president that I want you to be successful and I’m here to help you. If he will do that he can be a very effective senator. If he’s going to be the critic from Utah, it’s going to hurt him and Utah.
Listening to this, it’s only natural to wonder whether Graham was speaking for himself, or whether he was reading cue cards that were handed down to him from the White House. After all, Graham seems to think that Republican Senators must do the bidding of a Republican president most, if not all, of the time–and the interests of their state and the country be hanged. Is it any wonder that Congress’ approval rating is literally circling the drain at 18 percent?
Graham’s warning sounds even more bizarre when you consider that earlier, he mused that Utahans didn’t elect Romney to be “a foe of President Trump.” Apparently Graham forgets that Utahans were extremely cool toward Trump in 2016. He only got 45 percent of the vote there–only the second time since 1968, and only the third time since 1952, that a Republican has failed to win an outright majority in Utah.
Moreover, Trump’s approval rating in the state, as measured by Morning Consult, only stands at 50 percent–just a tick above the margin of error. That’s far lower than conventional wisdom would suggest for what is normally a rock-ribbed Republican state. Seems that Romney would, at least on paper, have some wiggle room to speak out against Trump.
Perhaps Graham needs to review his oath of office. His oath is to the Constitution, not the president. While it remains to be seen whether Romney retains his spine, we know one thing beyond any doubt. Lindsey the Maverick has been replaced with Lindsey the Consigliere.
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