Washington • Sen. Mitt Romney may be a more vocal critic of President Donald Trump than his GOP colleagues but the Trump campaign doesn’t see the Utah Republican as a worry heading into the 2020 election cycle.
“Romney’s principled in many ways,” the president’s son Eric Trump said Thursday in response to a question from The Salt Lake Tribune. “You know, I think he sees what’s going on [with the impeachment inquiry] as, I think, a sham, too. You know, there are certain convictions that he has. And I don’t think he lines up even close to somebody like an Eric Swalwell or Nancy Pelosi or an Adam Schiff. I think he’s a fundamentally different person.”
Eric Trump, in a conference call with regional news outlets, was referencing three California Democrats: Swalwell, a former presidential candidate; Pelosi, the House speaker; and Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — all of whom have become the targets of the right flank as Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry of the president.
Romney, a former GOP presidential nominee and now a freshman senator from Utah, has raised concerns about President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine — the center of the impeachment inquiry — describing as “troubling in the extreme” the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wherein Trump asked for a favor from Ukraine to open investigations.
Romney broke ranks with most fellow Republicans to say it was “appalling” for Trump to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival, in this case former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
The president has been far less diplomatic than his son in regards to Romney. He has called him a “pompous ass," and even suggested in a tweet than Utahns impeach Romney — although there is no such thing as impeachment of a senator.
Eric Trump used Thursday’s call with reporters to castigate Democrats for what he said was a failed but consistent effort to bring down the president through multiple fronts. He said Romney may have his own convictions and may view the Republican Party differently from the president, but he wasn’t aligning himself with the Democratic “hoax” of impeachment.
“I can’t imagine he’s taking this, you know, seriously,” Eric Trump said of Romney. “He might be critical of my father from time to time; my father and he have certainly had their differences. At the same time, I think just about nothing about Mitt Romney aligns himself with Nancy Pelosi and what’s happening on the streets of California."
Eric Trump later referred to drug needles and people defecating on the streets of San Francisco, which Pelosi represents.
Romney’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The Utah senator had initially raised red flags about the president’s dealings with Ukraine but of late has gone quiet, arguing that, as a possible future juror in a Senate impeachment trial, he’s not going to weigh in on every revelation. Romney is one of a few GOP senators who are keeping at arm’s-length from discussion of the House’s inquiry.
Eric Trump also offered a vision for his father’s reelection campaign, noting that while Democrats are focusing on impeachment or beating up one another on the campaign trail, his father is overseeing a stock market breaking new records and unemployment hitting historic lows.
Asked by The Tribune if Eric Trump saw the impeachment inquiry as a positive because of the fundraising it’s bringing in, he responded, “Time will tell.”
“The Democrats are doing damage to themselves. And I think this is going to fall on its face and it’s going to be another hoax,” Eric Trump said. “It’s going to be another one of the boys that cried wolf.”
The younger Trump said that Democrats’ efforts have galvanized the president’s supporters and Rick Gorka, a Trump campaign official, added that the Trump team raised more than $3 million just since the public impeachment hearings started.