None of Sen. Mitt Romney’s fellow Republicans will defend him against President Donald Trump’s call for him to be removed from office.
Several top Republicans in Utah and nationally have been given the opportunity to defend Romney against Trump’s attacks, but they mostly refused to answer the question lest they draw the ire, and tweets, of President Trump.
On Friday, Romney condemned President Trump’s call for China to launch an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden, calling it “wrong and appalling.”
By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 4, 2019
In response President Trump spent most of the weekend blasting Romney on Twitter and calling for his impeachment (even though that’s not possible). Trump claimed that there are people in Utah who “regretted voting for Romney” even though he won an open Senate seat in 2018 with nearly 63 percent of the vote. He also called Romney a “pompous ass” and ripped him for losing the 2012 election to Barack Obama.
I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake. I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats! #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2019
Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run (I gave it to him), and when he begged me to be Secretary of State (I didn’t give it to him). He is so bad for R’s!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2019
Somebody please wake up Mitt Romney and tell him that my conversation with the Ukrainian President was a congenial and very appropriate one, and my statement on China pertained to corruption, not politics. If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2019
When asked about Trump’s attacks on Romney during his appearance on Fox News Sunday, Rep. Chris Stewart refused to weigh in when asked by host Chris Wallace.
“You are a member of the Utah congressional delegation and over the weekend, President Trump has really gone after Utah Senator Mitt Romney. He has called him a ‘pompous ass’ and a ‘fool.’ Do you have any problems with the president going after your senator that way?” asked Wallace.
“I’m shocked you would ask me this question,” responded Stewart. “I’m just going to say that Mitt Romney is a big boy, President Trump is a big boy, they can settle their differences. I’m not going to weigh in on that.”
On Monday, during a teleconference call, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who happens to be Romney’s niece, was asked whether it was the position of the Republican National Committee that Romney should be impeached. McDaniel declined to answer.
“I’m not going to get into a back and forth on that,” she said before quickly changing the subject.
UtahPolicy.com attempted to ask Utah GOP chairman Derek Brown about Trump’s attacks on Romney, but he did not return calls or text messages seeking comment.
It’s not surprising that none of Romney’s fellow Republicans have rallied to his defense as they don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of Trump’s fits of pique on Twitter. The president often chooses his targets with little rhyme or reason, other than they caught his attention by leveling criticism at him. Recent targets along with Romney include House Democrats, teenager Greta Thunberg and actress Debra Messing.
Trump is not exactly the most popular political figure in Utah. He carried the state in 2016, but only got 45.5% of the vote. His approval ratings have not crossed 50% in most polls since that time. A July Utah Political Trends survey found 53% of Utahns disapproved of President Trump’s job performance, and fewer than 40% of Utahns were ready to give Trump a second term in office.
In a hypothetical election matchup in Utah, Trump only averaged 40% against the top Democrats in the field. He trailed Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker and was in a statistical tie with former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Vanity Fair reported on Monday that several top GOP donors were pushing Romney to primary President Trump in 2020, but Romney is not interested.