Donald Trump threw his weight behind Mitt Romney on Monday. Romney, a harsh critic of the president until now, thanked Trump for endorsing his Senate bid from Utah.
Trump’s tweet endorsement was surprising as Romney was seen as one of the president’s most vocal critics. Romney called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” during the 2016 presidential campaign, batting against his GOP nomination, according to a transcript of a speech published by The New York Times. Two months later, Donald Trump was nominated by the Republican Party.
“Now, I’m far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.”
Trump hit back by referring to Romney losing the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama. He called Romney a “disaster candidate” who “choked” and is a “total joke.” Though surprising, Trump’s support for Romney was not unexpected when the latter announced his bid last week.
According to CNBC, when Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, announced he would run for Senate, concerns were rife within the Republican Party that he would not refrain from criticizing the president even after the election.
He's playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. (2/2)— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 3, 2016
.@MittRomney was a disaster candidate who had no guts and choked! Romney is a total joke, and everyone knows it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2016
Incidentally, Monday’s Senate bid endorsement was not the first that came Romney’s way from Trump. The president claimed in 2016 that Romney had begged him in 2012 for his endorsement. In response, Romney tweeted he would not have sought Trump’s endorsement if he had known about the latter’s stand on Muslims, racism, and immigrants, CBS reported.
That notwithstanding, Romney thanked Trump on Monday. The surprise move was seen as the president’s win over his critics within the GOP.
Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 20, 2018
After his announcement to run for Senate, CNN pointed out that Romney re-emerged after the 2012 presidential election by attacking President Trump. Ironically, Romney made an announcement in a video justifying his bid from Utah, his official residence since 2013, by referring to controversial White House policies on matters including immigration. He, however, refrained from attacking Trump directly in the video.
“Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah,” he said in the video.
While Romney has since emerged as a front-runner and is now expected to have an easy race to the office to replace GOP Senator Orrin Hatch, Republicans in the State have expressed displeasure. The party’s chairman in the state, Rob Anderson, called Romney an outsider, but later apologized for his comments, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.