‘The Rundown’: 2021 Mitt Romney vs. 2012 Mitt on Afghanistan

Your Monday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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2021 Mitt Romney vs. 2012 Mitt on Afghanistan

On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney ripped into the Trump and Biden administrations for the chaotic exit from Afghanistan.

“This is the result of very ineffective decisions, terrible decisions made by the prior administration and by the current administration. This did not have to happen. It was preventable,” Romney said during CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The Recount” took Romney to task on Twitter for forgetting the role the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations played in the two-decade-long war.

Shortly after Romney’s declaration, several users on Twitter pointed out during his 2012 presidential campaign, Romney promised to pull troops out of Afghanistan...by 2014.

TV host Mehdi Hasan pointed out Romney didn’t mention Afghanistan at all during his acceptance speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, but he did run a “fear-mongering” campaign ad warning of “violent, radical, Islamic fundamentalism” and Iran.

Here’s what you need to know for Monday morning:

⛈ Tropical Storm Ida has left all of New Orleans without power. It’s the most powerful storm to hit the region since Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago. [WSJ]

  • At one point, the Mississippi River started flowing in the opposite direction. The U.S. Geologic Survey said that phenomenon is “extremely uncommon.” [CNN]

  • At least one person is dead from the storm. [USA Today]

🚨 The Pentagon was warned of a “mass casualty” attack at the Kabul airport hours before a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device. Military officials struggled to close the gate where the incident took place. 13 U.S. service members and more than 100 Afghans died in the explosion. [Politico]

  • Sergeant Taylor Hover from Utah was killed in last week’s attack at the airport. [Tribune]

  • The U.S. shot down several rockets aimed at the Kabul airport on Monday as evacuation operations continued. [NYT]

  • Nine Afghans, including children, were reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike targeting a suspected ISIS-K suicide bomber. [CNN]

👀 Rep. Jim Jordan suddenly remembers he had multiple phone calls with then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6. In one call, Jordan and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reportedly pleaded with Trump to call off the mob of supporters who had stormed the U.S. Capitol. [Politico]

🏛 Democrats in Congress appear ready to force Republicans to vote against raising the debt limit. [Politico]

💉 The University of Utah, Utah State, and Weber State will all require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. [Tribune]

🦠Dr. Anthony Fauci warns there could be another 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. by December. [CNN]

💉Dr. Fauci says the U.S. should mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for children. [Reuters]

🏈 College football season is underway. Will you be safe from COVID-19 if you head to the stadium? [Tribune]

🏟 The University of Utah will not require vaccinations or masks for fans attending games at Rice-Eccles Stadium. [Tribune]

🚨 The U.N. atomic agency says North Korea appears to have resumed operation at a reactor capable of producing plutonium, which could allow the country to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal. [WSJ]

⚖️ Make sure you read this behind-the-scenes look at James Huntsman’s lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [Tribune]

Podcast time

On this week’s “Utah Politics” podcast, I speak with longtime local journalist Cathy McKitrick. She has been at the center of a three-year court battle to obtain documents related to former Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson. The Utah Supreme Court ruled last week McKitrick should get the documents. You can download the podcast of our conversation here.

Friend of the newsletter Jason Chaffetz has a new podcast episode worth a download. This week he speaks with Elizabeth Smart about her 2002 kidnapping case and how she eventually escaped. He also talks with former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman. Listen to the episode here.

Monday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • Meet the new leader of Black Lives Matter Utah. [Tribune]

  • Stacey Jackson-Roberts comes home to lead Utah Pride Center. [Tribune]

  • BYU will investigate after man defaces chalk art in support of LGBTQ students and yells slur. [Tribune]

  • These 3 towns ran out of water amid Utah drought. [Deseret News]

  • Utah is the #2 state where food stamps are used the least. [ABC4]

  • Utah man trying to evacuate nephew from Afghanistan. [Fox 13]


  • Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required to enter some Twilight Concert series shows. [Tribune]

  • As Utah reports another 1,200 cases of COVID-19, Intermountain warns its intensive care units are full. [Tribune]

  • With no Utah ICU beds available, what this doctor says it’s time for even the vaccinated to do. [Deseret News]

  • Report estimates 100,000 Utahns experiencing lingering COVID-19 symptoms. [KUTV]


  • LDS apostle Jeffrey Holland’s talk puts BYU at risk of losing ‘national prestige,’ university administrator warns. [Tribune]

On the editorial pages

  • Software can prevent gerrymandering, but will Utah use it? Robert Gehrke asks. [Tribune]

  • What do Sundance, Usana Ampitheater and Utah universities have in common? They are leading where government has failed, writes Editoral Board. [Tribune]

  • Matt Easton responds to Elder Holland: Diversity is not divisiveness. [Tribune]

  • Opinion: Republicans won’t redraw Utah’s political boundaries with the people in mind. [Deseret News]