Washington • Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday he’s “staying quiet” on whether he’ll vote for someone other than President Donald Trump this fall.
But it seems unlikely the Utah Republican will cast a ballot for a guy who has called him a loser and a “pompous ass,” mocked his faithfulness and now has falsely asserted that Romney’s poll numbers had tanked.
Romney — who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and, according to The New York Times, was considering voting for his wife, Ann, again — was also the first senator to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial.
Let’s just guess Romney’s Utah home isn’t going to sport a “Make America Great Again” yard sign.
The former GOP presidential nominee got under the president’s skin yet again this past weekend, when he joined thousands of people marching in Washington, D.C., against police brutality.
“We need a voice against racism,” Romney told an NBC reporter on why he was marching. “We need many voices against racism and against brutality. We need to stand up and say that black lives matter.”
Cue the Trump tweet.
“Tremendous sincerity, what a guy,” the president tweeted. “Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would ‘tank’ so badly in Utah!”
Actually, Romney polls better in Utah than the president, and his approval rating has actually risen in the state.
Some 56% of Utahns support Romney, a freshman senator and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, according to a poll earlier this month by UtahPolicy.com and KUTV. About 42% of Utah voters disapproved.
Trump, meanwhile, is only a few points ahead of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Utah. An April poll showed 44% of Utahns would support Trump in the election while 41% said they’d back Biden in the deep red state.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany later pointed out that Trump had taken issue with remarks Romney made eight years ago when he was seeking the presidency about how 47% of America wouldn’t vote for him because they essentially just wanted government handouts.
“The president takes great offense to those words,” McEnany said of the “47%” remarks, which she called “the very empty words of Sen. Romney.”
The press secretary also asserted that Trump got more of the black vote than Romney did in 2012.
“Mitt Romney can say three words [supposedly referring to Black Lives Matter] outside on Pennsylvania Avenue, but I would note this: that President Trump won 8% of the black vote; Mitt Romney won 2% of the black vote.”
Actually, exit polls showed Romney won about 6% of the black vote while competing against the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, who won reelection.
Trump had backed Romney in that race and defended Romney after video of “47%” remarks leaked out, saying he didn't think it would affect the race.
Romney, who had an on- and off-again relationship with Trump until the senator’s vote to convict the president of abuse of power ended any “cordial” dealings, expanded late Monday on why he joined the group of Christian protesters.
“One of the fundamental principles of Christianity is that we’re all sons and daughters of the same God,” Romney said. “And a fundamental principle of this country is that we’re entitled to equal rights under the law and that we’re all esteemed as brothers and sisters. I stated the obvious, which is black lives matter.
"Our whole family is very animated about the bias and the prejudice that too often still exists in a country, which is the land of the free and which was founded upon the principle that all men are created in the image of God, and are equal under the law,” Romney continued.
Romney had tweeted previously that the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, was “abhorrent.” On Saturday, he posted a photo of George Romney, the senator’s late father, marching with protesters supporting civil rights in the 1960s.
Correction: 7:50 a.m., June 9 • A quote in this story, which was originally misheard, has been corrected after reviewing the audio.