Former President Donald J. Trump responded on Wednesday to Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s recent announcement that he will not seek reelection for his Senate seat in 2024.
“FANTASTIC NEWS FOR AMERICA, THE GREAT STATE OF UTAH, & FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “MITT ROMNEY, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS PIERRE DELECTO, WILL NOT BE SEEKING A SECOND TERM IN THE U.S. SENATE, WHERE HE DID NOT SERVE WITH DISTINCTION. A BIG PRIMARY FIGHT AGAINST HIM WAS IN THE OFFING, BUT NOW THAT WILL NOT BE NECESSARY. CONGRATS TO ALL. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Trump’s remarks are a response to a video Romney released on X on Wednesday. In contradiction to suggestions that the Utah senator might one day defect to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, Romney announced his intentions to retire from politics as he enters his twilight years.
“At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Romney said in his announcement. “They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in. Now, we face critical challenges, mounting national debt, climate change, and the ambitious authoritarians of Russia and China.”
Romney’s critique of both President Biden and former President Trump was sharp during his announcement. He criticized their handling of significant challenges such as the national debt, climate change and threats from countries like Russia and China.
“Both men refuse to address entitlements, even though they know that this represents two-thirds of federal spending. Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax, and President Biden offers feel-good solutions that make no difference to the global climate,” Romney said.
Romney’s political journey has been significant. He vied for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 and 2012, clinching it in the latter attempt. After his 2012 defeat, he transitioned back to the private sector but remained influential in national politics.
His criticism of Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle was particularly notable. By 2018, Romney pursued the U.S. Senate seat from Utah and began his tenure in January 2019. As a Senator, he sometimes emerged as a Republican willing to censure then-President Donald Trump, most prominently voting to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial in early 2020.
Before Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency, Romney had sought and received Trump’s endorsement for his 2012 presidential bid. Romney, at that juncture, lauded Trump for his economic prowess. However, during the 2016 Republican primary, Romney emerged as one of Trump’s fiercest detractors within the Republican Party.
Romney labeled Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” in a March 2016 speech, urging Republicans to support other primary candidates to prevent Trump from securing the nomination. Trump retorted by lambasting Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and branding him a “loser.”
Post Trump’s 2016 electoral triumph, there seemed to be a partial reconciliation between the two. Romney was even in the running for the secretary of state role in the Trump administration, although he wasn’t the final pick.
By 2018, as a U.S. senator from Utah, Romney occasionally endorsed Trump’s policies. Yet, he also established himself as one of the rare Republicans in the Senate willing to openly critique the president. This stance was most conspicuous when Romney became the sole Republican senator to vote to convict Trump on one of the impeachment articles during his first impeachment trial in early 2020.
The chasm between the two appeared to deepen post Trump’s departure from office, especially in the aftermath of January 6, 2021. Romney censured Trump’s involvement in the events leading to the U.S. Capitol breach, while Trump persisted in his criticism of Romney for perceived disloyalty.
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