Mitt Romney began his career in the U.S. Senate with a bang this week by penning an op-ed criticizing President Donald Trump for his character failings. Romney said Trump has failed to live up to the standards expected of the president.

That op-ed encouraged Trump’s critics and infuriated his supporters, but our “Political Insiders” and readers believe it’s much ado about nothing. They mostly expect Romney to support President Trump during his time in office rather than becoming a leader of the anti-Trump forces in Congress.

  • 63% of the Republicans on our panel say Romney will be mostly supportive of Trump, while 37% think he’ll be a thorn in Trump’s side.

  • 82% of the Democrats who responded to our question expect Romney to support Trump.

  • 75% of our readers say Romney will be mostly supportive of Trump while in office.

For his part, Sen. Romney says he does not expect to constantly weigh in on the latest Trump-related controversy every day. But, he does warn he will speak out when there’s an issue on which he disagrees with the president. He did make it crystal clear in the op-ed that he supports many of President Trump’s policies. In response, President Trump said he hoped Romney would “be a team player” in Washington.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

His op-ed was timely based on the shutdown and didn't deserve the castigating from idiots like Jason Chaffetz and Lou Dobbs, but he's not going to spend his entire Senate career being a presidential thorn. He'll mostly support McConnell.

Utah is the one Republican state that will give a member of Congress enough leeway to stand up to Trump. Stay tuned for more to come.

It was a preemptive strike to stop the media from asking for his response to every tweet.

Romney's comments and statements on Trump during the next 3-6 months will essentially be trial balloons to see if there is sufficient support to justify running against him in 2020. As much as many Republicans would love to see him do this, he will soon realize that he cannot muster enough support to do so, unless, perhaps, he persuades Nikki Haley to run with him.

Mitt may prove to be a constant critic of the President, however he can't have much effect on the President's poll numbers (as bad as they are). If he constantly is critical of Trump, that may hurt his approval rating with his constituents. It is true, right now, that Utah voters are not quite as enamored with the President as they were. That can change; however. Mike Lee seems to have drunk Trumps Kool-Aid. That may weaken his credibility or it may strengthen his ability get some legislation through (or not). Everything political seems about as volatile as the stock market is right now. If Mitt is really striving to be an honest critic of the President, so be it. If he wants to make political hay for future aspirations, that will come back to bite him big time.

He is a squish—the very definition of a RHINO. It would help if he actually believed in some foundational principles. As Jim Rome said, “Have a take and don’t suck.” Romney only has opportunistic takes and sucks the rest of the time.

One can hope that he will lead the resistance

His animus has upset key members of senate leadership, including Leader Mitch McConnell. His comments are divisive and unproductive. If he doesn’t learn how to keep his comments in check, he will be consistently on the outs with Senate hierarchy. Rookie mistake to think he’s bigger than his britches, so let’s watch closely and see if he learns his lesson.

I wish he would be the voice of moral authority, but based on his past actions, he will speak out and then kiss up. I’m cheering for him, but not counting on him.

I think Romney will take the place of Senator Flake, the flake from Arizona. It will be difficult for any of his team mates to depend on him.

As he himself said in the op-ed, he does support many/most of Trump’s policies. But it is very important to call out the unacceptable behavior by the president and I am glad he did it.

I think Senator Romney will do his best to pick and choose his spots. His disagreements seem to be about the president's tone and his divisiveness primarily and with the policies when they are legitimately worrisome. I anticipate that will continue.

Sadly, Mitt craves approval and that will keep him from being the maverick leader John McCain was.

Given this President's penchant for constantly engaging in depraved activity he will have no choice but to weigh in. He stated he'd only weigh in when it was important but the unraveling of this president's behavior means he will have no choice but to try to save the Republican Party from him.

He is the consummate chameleon whose stripes run in the direction of the popular winds, gutless & unprincipled.

FlipFlop Mittens doesn't have a backbone but I'm sure he'll say all the right things while voting otherwise.

I badly want to believe Sen. Romney will stand up to Trump. But his announcement of support for the objectively bad policy that is "The Wall" quickly dashed my hopes of him being a strong voice of reason or of him putting more substantial pressure on the President. I don't expect him to become a liberal, but if he's going to toe the line and vote in lockstep on even patently ridiculous things like the wall it makes his Op-ed feel like empty rhetoric.

I fear Romney's resolve will fade. Please, let me be wrong.

When Mitt needs something he'll flip again. The cycle continues.

He caved before, this is just another stunt... Sad, but true.

It's almost impossible to fathom any Republican becoming the "top leader of the resistance" to Trump in Congress. Nancy Pelosi seems to be leading candidate for that job. That being said, I could see Romney becoming the leader of Republican opposition to Trump in Congress, and perhaps he's already taken that role.

He is another McCain and Flake. I held my nose and voted for him and knew I would be sorry and it didn't take long, what one day before being sworn in. An embarrassment to Utah.

I hope that Sen. Romney will have more integrity than most of the other Utah Republican elected officials who cuddle up to Pres. Trump to keep their jobs. As a lifetime Utah Republican, I am appalled at what Trump says, tweets and how he acts. The President of the United States has become the laughing stock of the World, rather than the leader of the free world. All the adults in the room have left his administration and we are left with incompetence and corruption.

Mitt seems to like *what* Trump does, just dislike the *way* he goes about it. Since Trump's candidacy, Romney seems to make noise now and then, but backtracks when it suits him (like thanking Trump for his endorsement, rather than rejecting it out of hand). As a Republican in a narrowly divided Senate, Romney is in place to do a lot to impede Trump's worse instincts - which are all of them - and face a lot of Trump's ire in the process. I just don't think Romney will find it politically expedient, even if his morals would encourage him to do so.

Romney tends to blow with the wind.

Mitt will melt. It would be great if really did have the guts to become a true, constant thorn in Trump's side, but I don't believe he has it in him (which is a shame).

He may disagree with the President, but Romney is also a pragmatist.

Mitt is a phony. All bark and no bite.

After 2018 midterms, it's only a matter of time before Republicans drop him like the anchor he is. I've never believed he has as much sway over "the base" as everyone else does and they'll quickly jump on a Pence presidency. (It's not like these people will ever vote Democrat). Romney is in the unique position that he's much more popular in his state and can easily speak out. I suspect that when that Mueller Report drops, Trump will be quickly deposed of and it will be done happily as he has made many enemies and no friends.

Like a willow in the wind, he will sway with the prevailing winds.

Talk = cheap.

He is just reminding him that not everyone is going to continually give him a free pass on his petty behavior and his lack of dignity that should be found in our president - regardless of party.

While I would hope that Mitt has the courage to stand up, I truly believe he will sell his soul just like the rest did. And that is sad.

I was pleased to see him challenge Trump's behavior and hope Senator Romney's words will carry into action. I also hope Romney's words (and actions) will give courage to other Republicans who feel similarly about the President's ineptitude. If the Republican President misbehaves, he should be held accountable.

Sadly, he's already demonstrated his lack of commitment to his professed values. I think Mitt is a good guy--he just has some major blinders.

I'm predicting strong words with weak action.