Mitt Romney reportedly said a driving motivation behind his desire to run for Senate is to emulate Arizona Sen. John McCain as a Republican counterbalance to President Trump.
U.S. News reports Romney told members of Utah’s congressional delegation, “There’s got to be someone who can stand up to Trump.” However, don’t expect him to make that the centerpiece of his campaign.
While Romney has clandestinely mulled the McCain model, it is not expected to be part of his likely campaign, which he’s expected to launch in the coming weeks. Sensitive to the national attention that will swarm his candidacy, the former governor is poised to keep laser-focused on Utah’s needs, dutifully traversing the state and showcasing successful local policies that that could be applied to Washington, according to a person who has discussed a potential Senate bid with him. More practically, Romney has no interest in igniting a Twitter war with Trump before he even arrives in Washington.
Having dealt with Trump privately during discussions about becoming his secretary of state – as well as tussled with him in the public sphere, memorably labeling Trump “a phony” and “a fraud” during the 2016 campaign – Romney believes he can work in good faith with the president by simply adhering to the art of the deal.
“President Trump is 100 percent transactional. He’s not relational in any way, shape or form. It’s about the transaction. Mitt understands that,” says Boyd Matheson, a former chief of staff to Lee who contemplated a Senate bid of his own and met with Romney in November. “Everyone who’s predicting this big battle between the opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are going to be disappointed. Mitt will make deals and the president will make deals. They’ll disagree and fire at each other on some things, but Mitt will still work with him.”
The article also says Rep. Chris Stewart, who also wants to run for Hatch’s seat, is frustrated that Romney is apparently planning on running, which would thwart his plans.