Mitt Romney has come to a very unpleasant conclusion.
The Republican senator from Utah has realized that—whether he likes it or not—former President Donald Trump has far more clout in the Republican Party than he does, and the 2024 nomination is his if he wants it.
“I don’t delude myself into thinking I have a big swath of the Republican Party,” Romney, who twice voted to impeach Trump, conceded in an interview with Politico published Wednesday. “It’s hard to imagine anything that would derail his support. So if he wants to become the nominee in ’24, I think he’s very likely to achieve that.”
Romney’s depressing realization likely came in the wake of Trump-backed candidates sweeping the Ohio Republican primaries, which is about as clear a message as one can get that Trump is back and better than ever. Though there were certainly fervent hopes among the “Never Trump” and “RINO” wing of the Republican establishment that the former president’s endorsements would come to nothing, and that his preferred candidates would crash and burn, Tuesday night’s results said otherwise.
Trump’s endorsements for House seats in Ohio, Max Miller and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert won handily in their primary races. And as Politico notes, another Trump-backed candidate, J. R. Majewski, won an upset race against two far better known and funded rivals just a week after his creative Trump-themed landscaping garnered the former president’s praise during a rally.
But the big win, of course, was J. D. Vance’s exciting victory in Ohio’s Republican primary race for U.S. senator. After a rocky campaign that saw numerous ups and downs, Vance finally secured Trump’s endorsement, after which his cruise to victory in the primaries was all but assured. And just like that, all the hopes of the press and Never Trumpers like Mitt Romney that Trump was a spent force were dashed to pieces.
So what does this mean for Romney going forward? For one thing, he’ll have to remain incognito during his visits to his vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida. His illustrious neighbor in that high-priced town is, of course, none other than 45 himself, and according to Business Insider, Romney admitted to the authors of the new book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future that he regularly “wears hats” to avoid being harassed by Trump supporters.
“If he were recognized by Trump supporters there, there was a good chance he would be harassed,” the book’s authors wrote.
Perhaps he should resurrect his infamous “Pierre Delecto” pseudonym.
Meanwhile, it looks like Donald Trump is much more popular in the Republican Party than Romney ever was. According to the Deseret News, Romney has been booed at the last two Utah Republican Party state conventions, including one last month that he didn’t even bother to attend.
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