Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reported Monday evening that big Republican donors are pushing Sen. Mitt Romney to launch a primary challenge to President Donald Trump, but Romney believes he can be more effective during an impeachment trial in the Senate.
“There’s a half-billion dollars on the sidelines from guys who are fed up with Trump,” one GOP donor reportedly said. However, people close to Romney say he’s not eyeing another run for the White House. Instead, he’s reportedly reaching out to other Republicans in the Senate about how to approach a possible impeachment trial. That’s why Romney’s criticism of Trump is “freaking Republicans out.”
According to people close to Romney, he’s firmly decided against primarying Trump, an enterprise he believes to be a sure loser given Trump’s enduring GOP support. Romney has also told people that, as an unsuccessful two-time presidential candidate, he’s the wrong person to take on Trump. Instead, a Romney adviser told me, Romney believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial. “He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus,” the adviser said. In recent days, Romney has been reaching out privately to key players in the Republican resistance, according to a person briefed on the conversations. “Romney is the one guy who could bring along Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.”
A source close to Romney pushed back on the report, telling UtahPolicy.com that Romney is not trying to organize any sort of insurrection against Trump in the Senate. However, the source who was not authorized to speak publicly added Sen. Romney will continue to call out anything coming from the White House that he sees as divisive or runs counter to traditional American values.