Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-UT) attacked President Donald Trump’s “character” in an op-ed Tuesday evening in the Washington Post.
“His conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month [December], is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” Romney wrote.
And yet Romney — who ran in a safe Utah seat rather than in Massachusetts, where he had once been governor, and might have helped Republicans by taking on a Democratic presidential contender — sought, and accepted, Trump’s endorsement for Senate in 2018.
Here is a brief summary of Romney’s history of backstabbing Trump — often after seeking, and receiving, his help:
- February 2012: Romney seeks, and receives, Trump’s endorsement in the Republican presidential primary, beating several other contenders who wanted the billionaire’s backing. The Romney campaign proudly touted Trump’s nod. CBS News reported at the time, “Romney’s campaign formally unveiled the endorsement at an event in Las Vegas.”
- March 2016: Romney delivers a speech in Utah devoted entirely to trashing Trump: “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.” However, with the primary still undecided, Romney declined to support any of Trump’s rivals, meaning the speech amounted to little more than abuse. (Some of those present at the time speculated Romney was laying the foundation for a political comeback.)
- November 2016: Romney, humbled by Trump’s victory, offers to join President-elect Trump’s cabinet, and seeks the job of Secretary of State. After meetings at Trump Tower, Romney fails to win the job — but issues a statement praising Trump and thanking him for the opportunity: “It was an honor to have been considered for Secretary of State of our great country. My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace.”
- February 2018: Romney receives Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Utah and accepts it — despite having declared in 2016 he would not have accepted Trump’s endorsement if given the choice again.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
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
- January 2019: Romney publishes an anti-Trump op-ed in an anti-Trump newspaper on the first day of the new year — declaring, without irony: “A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity.”
Romney’s op-ed re-ignited speculation that he intends to run for president again, perhaps against Trump himself.
An observer at Romney’s speech in March 2016 said: “This is just Act One” for Romney.
Clearly, he was right.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.