As per Mediaite, Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, went through a notable transformation from a respected figure within the party to an outsider due to his public opposition to former President Donald Trump.
McKay Coppins’s revealing biography, “Romney: A Reckoning,” delves into this shift, drawing from extensive conversations with Romney, along with private journal entries and communications that offer a rare glimpse into Romney’s inner turmoil as he grappled with Trump’s rise and the subsequent reshaping of the GOP.
Upon taking his Senate position in 2018, Romney was disheartened by Trump’s conduct as president. He was alarmed by the tumultuous start of Trump’s presidency and troubled by his erratic actions, including the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and defying Pentagon officials’ pleas for pardons for convicted military officers.
Despite his concerns, Romney hesitated to openly challenge the president, citing a desire to avoid tensions with the White House and alienation from his fellow Republican colleagues.
In private correspondences with advisers and his personal journal, Romney expressed growing frustration with Trump’s behavior, lamenting his character flaws and the negative impact on the country’s international reputation.
A turning point came when Trump abruptly announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, leading to Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation and a government shutdown over border wall funding, leaving numerous workers unpaid during the holiday season.
In an email to his advisers, Romney vented his frustration, criticizing Trump’s presidency and character, emphasizing he never envisioned such a tumultuous presidency. This release led to Romney writing an op-ed for the Washington Post in January 2019, condemning Trump’s failures as commander-in-chief, a move that escalated the hostility from Trump and his supporters.
Despite facing backlash and opposition within the Senate, Romney continued to be a vocal critic of Trump’s presidency, a stance that endured through the turbulent events of Trump’s tenure, including two impeachment trials and the Capitol riot after the 2020 election.
HE WAS THE LAST PERSON I WANTED AS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. I MADE THAT CLEAR. AFTER HE WON THE NOMINATION, I WATCHED HIS CAMPAIGN TO SEE IF HE MIGHT SURPRISE ME. HE DID NOT. WHEN HE WON, I HOPED HE WOULD RISE TO THE OCCASION. HIS CALL FOR ME TO POTENTIALLY SERVE AT STATE FUELED THAT HOPE—AFTER ALL, I HAD BEEN A VERY VOCAL DETRACTOR.
UNFORTUNATELY, PRESIDENT TRUMP DID NOT GROW TO MATCH THE OFFICE. HIS SMALLNESS HAS INSTEAD DIMINISHED IT. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT HAS LONG SERVED AS A MODEL FOR THE NATION; FEW WOULD IMAGINE HOLDING DONALD TRUMP UP FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO EMULATE. AROUND THE WORLD, HE, AND TO SOME DEGREE THE NATION THAT ELECTED HIM, HAVE BECOME A LAUGHING STOCK. HIS POVERTY OF CHARACTER HAS BEEN EXPOSED SO OFTEN AND IN SO MANY WAYS THAT MANY HERE HAVE BECOME INURED TO IT. NOT SO FOR THOSE WHO WATCH HIM FROM ABROAD.
I WAS ASKED REPEATEDLY TO APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT I SAID ABOUT DONALD TRUMP, TO SAY THAT HAVING SPENT MORE TIME WITH HIM, I HAD LEARNED THAT I WAS WRONG. I DEMURRED. BUT IN TRUTH, I DID NOT IMAGINE THAT HE WOULD BE SO TRAGIC AS PRESIDENT. THE INCESSANT LYING, THE ADULTERER PAYOFFS, THE UNWILLINGNESS TO STUDY AND DELIBERATE, THE WEAKENING OF ALLIANCES, THE ELEVATION OF AUTOCRATS, THE IMPETUOUS DECISION, THE DEMONIZING OF OTHERS, THE DIVISIVENESS, THE INABILITY TO HIRE AND RETAIN PEOPLE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT — THESE ARE AS STUNNING TO ME AS THEY ARE TO OTHERS. I DID NOT THINK HE WOULD BE THIS BAD.