Mitt Romney who will be sworn in as Utah’s junior U.S. Senator wrote an op/ed critical of President Donald Trump published on New Year’s Day in The Washington Post.
I did not vote for President Trump in 2016 and I remain skeptical of him, but I have to wonder what did this op-ed actually accomplish?
1. Romney did not say anything new.
Romney had criticized President Trump’s character long before he was elected to office. Since he was a candidate in 2016, has anything changed? Has there been any new revelation?
He did not offer any new critique of the President’s rhetoric and Twitter feed.
He did not offer any new critique of the President’s politics, in fact, he mostly praised his policy decisions.
2. Romney said nothing specific.
Romney spoke in generalities. His op-ed was a broadside without specific critique. What specific policy concern does he have with President Trump? What decision in December does he disagree with and why? What specific statement did President Trump make in December that forced him to take to the pages of The Washington Post in protest?
His op-ed seemed like nothing but generalized platitudes.
3. Romney provided no action step for Americans.
Exactly what are the American people supposed to do with this op-ed? Who was he writing this op-ed for? Is he asking Republicans to oppose Trump? His piece read more like someone who plans to run for office than an incoming Senator. What does Romney intend to do?
I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.
Ok, great, I expect every Senator to do that. That is part of being a check on the executive branch. I don’t have any problem with a U.S. Senator criticizing President Trump when it is needed, and I think it is wise not to respond to every tweet or fault. So why not just do that? Why did he feel like now was the time to take to the pages of The Washington Post to say how he planned to address differences he has with President Trump and to broadside him?
4. He appealed to global opinion of Trump which is irrelevant.
Romney addressed polling of how foreigners view President Trump. He wrote:
Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.
I agree that we need to maintain strong relationships with our allies, but President Trump was elected, in part, because of President Obama’s foreign policies. Globalist presidents are popular overseas. This begs the earlier point, exactly how does Romney want to see improved? What if the “right thing in world affairs” is not the right thing for our nation? Then what? I frankly don’t care if President Trump is popular overseas if his foreign policy is sound.
This op-ed sounded like a potential primary challenge, not someone who wants to work with the President while, at the same time, providing a check on any poor policy decisions and divisive rhetoric by him. The only thing Romney’s op-ed accomplished to garner some temporary praise by the very people who vilified him in 2012.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore