Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and incoming Utah senator, has quickly set himself apart from other Republicans in the new Congress with a blistering attack on President Donald Trump's leadership and character, triggering what could become a new rivalry in the GOP ranks.
Trump questioned whether Romney will be "a Flake", referring to outgoing Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who was a frequent critic of Trump. I wish Romney had defeated Obama in 2012, but does anyone think this MA technocrat, who gave us the state-level version of Obamacare in the Bay State, signed up for a regional climate change cap-and-trade scheme, who appointed the egregious Gina McCarthy (Obama's second EPA administrator) to be his environmental adviser, and appointed state judges who struck the first judicial blows for same-sex marriage, would have governed as a serious conservative had he won?
"He should be happy for all Republicans", Trump continued of Romney.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment, but Trump fired back in a tweet early Wednesday morning that took aim at Romney's failed bid for the White House in 2012.
The Flake reference was to retiring Sen.
Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell, Jr. says he can't imagine President Trump "doing anything that's not good for the country". But amid his (unsuccessful) secretary of state candidacy and (successful) Senate candidacy in Utah, Romney's relationship with the president has gotten a bit more complicated.
US President Donald Trump speaks to US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) during a "Make America Great Again" rally at the Eastern Kentucky University, in Richmond, Kentucky, on October 13, 2018.
Unsurprisingly, this op-ed earned Romney a tweet of his own.
Then, after Trump was elected president, Romney dined with Trump and his then-chief of staff Reince Preibus at the Jean-Georges restaurant in Trump Tower. He also praised his colleagues who keep their disagreements with the president on policies like tariffs in private, rather than publicly attacking the president. Trump's words and actions, he writes, have caused worldwide dismay.
And last February, Trump endorsed Romney in the Utah Senate race, but not before reportedly urging Hatch to run for reelection.
However, he accepted Trump's endorsement during his Senate campaign past year.
Williams made that point, saying, "No Republican president opposed for re-nomination has ever won re-election" and that "any contested re-nomination campaign - even a forlorn hope - would only help Democrats". Conservative commentators and pro-Trump writers have accused him of duplicity and opportunism.