(CBrief) – Sen. Mitt Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and captured it in 2012, losing to incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama, says he believes that Donald Trump will once again become the party’s nominee in 2024.
In a back-and-forth with reporters last week in the U.S. Capitol, Romney said: “I think President Trump is by far the most likely to become our nominee. If there’s an alternative to that, it would be only realistic if it narrows down to a two-person race at some point.”
One day after former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced her candidacy and joined Trump in the race, Romney commented. Many other Republicans are expected to enter the race in the coming months, and there is considerable speculation about who may jump in.
“There’s always a personal interest on the part of the campaign — particularly the campaign staff, and consultants, as well as the candidate — to stay in. And to say, ‘Hey, look, I came in second. So I’m the person that really ought to get the nomination four years from now,’” Romney noted further. “And so it really is up to the donors and other influence people that know the candidate, his family or her family, to say, ‘Hey, time to move on.’”
Romney, who voted twice to impeach Trump, added he would work against the former president during the nomination process: “I won’t be supporting President Trump.”
Romney appeared to have played a role behind the scenes in helping President Joe Biden get elected, according to a book released last fall.
In 2012, Biden was on the Democratic ticket as Obama’s vice president, but six years later, in early November 2018, Romney offered Biden some surprising political advice, Mediate noted.
Romney, who then-President-elect Trump passed over for his secretary of state, spoke on the phone to Biden after the Utah senator won his race that year and reportedly pressed the former VP to run for president in 2020 to get Trump out of the White House.
“You have to run,” New York Magazine national correspondent Gabriel Debenedetti quoted Romney as saying to Biden, an exchange that is contained in Debenedetti’s upcoming book, “The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama.”
“Romney’s exhortation to a man then seen as a likely challenger to Donald Trump in 2020 will probably further enrage the former president, his supporters, and the Republican Party they dominate,” Pengelly reported, according to Mediate.
“Biden spent election night glued to his phone as usual … He talked to most of the candidates he’d campaigned for, and plenty he didn’t, either to congratulate or console them, or just to catch up,” writes Debenedetti.
“This time felt better than 2016 in part because Democrats were winning big, at least in local races and in the House. But it was also because of a refrain [Biden] kept hearing, and not always from the most expected sources,” Debenedetti noted further.
The refrain was that those around Biden kept urging him to throw his hat in the ring and run for president in 2020 as many saw him then as the most electable of all Democrats — and someone who could reenergize a coalition of voters former President Barack Obama stitched together to win two terms.
Pengelly added a note about sourcing for the book:
In a note on sourcing, Debenedetti says his book is “primarily the product of hundreds of interviews” with “colleagues, aides, rivals, confidants, allies and eyewitnesses from every stage” of Obama and Biden’s careers since 2003.
“When someone’s words are rendered in italics, that indicates an approximation based on the memories of sources who did not recall exact wordings,” Pengelly adds, noting that the quote attributed to Romney — “You have to run” — is in italics.
A May 2022 report in the Utah-based Deseret News claimed that Romney was using his connections with the liberal Washington Post to spread talking points about how Democrats can employ the filibuster to stop Trump if he runs for president again and wins re-election.