Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney underwent successful treatment last summer for prostate cancer and has a favorable prognosis, according to a Fox News report.
The news of Romney’s medical situation surfaces as talk grows that the former Massachusetts governor is preparing to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Orrin Hatch, 83, who announced his retirement January 2. Hatch, the longest serving U.S. Senator in Republican history, has been in the Senate since 1977.
The prostate cancer is not expected to have any effect on a Romney Senate candidacy.
Romney, who became the first Mormon candidate to head a presidential ticket in 2012, has a long connection to Utah, having attended Brigham Young University and returning to the state in 2001 to rescue the troubled Salt Lake Olympic Committee as it prepared for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
When rumors began circulating earlier this year that Hatch would not seek re-election, speculation surfaced that Romney was considering a run.
At that point, President Donald Trump encouraged Hatch to run, saying he needed him in the Senate.
Political observers interpreted that as more of a sign that the president did not want Romney to be in the Senate, where he could become a thorn in Trump’s side.
The enmity between Trump and Romney began during the 2016 presidential campaign when Romney made his disapproval of Trump’s candidacy obvious.
Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” and said Trump’s promises were as worthless as “a degree from Trump University.”
“He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president,” Romney said in March 2016.
Trump fought back, labeling Romney as a “choker” who blew the 2012 presidential race.
For a time, Romney seemed poised to be the head of the never-Trump movement in the Republican Party, but as Trump continued to run away with primary victories, a full-fledged opposition never surfaced.
For a brief time during the transition period as Trump was assembling his Cabinet, it appeared his feud with Romney had ended. The two held a highly-publicized meeting at Trump Tower in which the president-elect was reportedly considering Romney as his secretary of state, according to CNN coverage.
Trump eventually selected Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for that position.
Romney said he would have taken the position had it been offered and according to a Time Magazine report, revealed during a June 2017 political summit in Park City, Utah, that Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, had urged him to take the position if Trump made the offer.