Mitt Romney is sticking by his guns on Donald Trump.
After making a scathing speech in early 2016 and a series of public and social media appearances against the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt has made it official. He won’t be endorsing the candidate.
“I see way too much demagoguery and populism on both sides of the aisle and I only hope and aspire that we’ll see more greatness,” he said in comments reported by the Washington Examiner.
When asked about a potential third-party run, Mitt Romney said he would not consider it, but that he was “certainly going to be hoping that we find someone who I have my confidence in who becomes nominee.”
“I don’t intend on supporting either of the major party candidates at this point,” he added.
No one expected Mitt to reverse course on Trump after how hard he came out against the Donald, but more than a few have expected him to leave the door open on a late entry into the race.
On the surface, Mitt Romney has repeatedly said that he would not be running for president following his crushing defeat at the hands of President Obama in 2012.
Romney had the perfect opportunity to oust Obama at that point as the president’s signature healthcare law was under fire, unemployment and underemployment were high, gas prices were higher, and wages were down.
Repeated gaffes — like Mitt’s “47 percent comment” in which he was overheard and recorded saying that 47 percent of Americans were too enslaved to entitlements to ever vote for anyone other than a Democrat — and poor second and third debate performances ultimately doomed his campaign.
Still, there is a feeling that Mitt Romney would do anything to be president of the United States, and the reality is he’s been running for office ever since spearheading the #NeverTrump movement.
Mitt took a chance. He saw a crowded GOP field that was starting to dwindle, and as it dwindled, Trump seemed to pick up steam.
When he made his now infamous speech from the University of Utah, Trump was starting to move from minor to a more serious threat level.
He saw that none of the remaining candidates were going to challenge Trump, but he also saw a likely scenario where Trump would be unable to secure the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid an open convention.
Under the open convention scenario, Mitt knew that the GOP establishment could pick anyone they wanted as their nominee, but he also knew that the likelihood of that choice being a candidate who couldn’t get more votes than Trump in direct competition would be low.
His speech was a backdoor way of announcing his candidacy, even as his words indicated otherwise. What he didn’t count on was that Trump would not only get enough delegates to secure the nomination, but that he would also secure more delegates than any Republican hopeful in recent elections.
That appears to be where Trump now is. He currently has 1,068 delegates. A total of 505 are still in play, and the only two remaining candidates who were up against him dropped out of the race after suffering humiliating defeats to the Donald in Indiana.
That leaves Trump alone in the field with a very real possibility of securing not just the 1,237 he needs, but a total of 1,573.
That’s a clear indication that the people have spoken, and they want Trump — not Ted Cruz, John Kasich, or a shadow candidacy led by Mitt Romney.
Translation: Mitt Romney just lost his second presidential bid in a row, and once again, he has no one to blame but himself. Had he not aligned himself with the Republican establishment that opposes Trump and even taken on the role of lead spokesperson for them, Trump could have very well ran out of steam as the “outsider candidate,” leaving Cruz or Kasich with more of an opening to catch him.
Instead, Mitt Romney stepped predictably into the role of establishment mouthpiece and fueled the narrative that has pretty much gotten Trump elected.
In 2012, he lost because he lacked a vision for the country; ironically, four years didn’t teach him anything.
But what do you think, readers?
Was Mitt Romney running a shadow candidacy with his #NeverTrump movement? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Mitt Romney via Flickr Creative Commons / davelawrence8]