Mitt Romney is one of a handful of senior GOP officials who refused to endorse Donald Trump in 2016, calling him a “phony” and a “fraud”, while the 45th president called the Utah senator “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics”.
Senator Mitt Romney was booed and called a “traitor” during a Utah Republican Party convention in West Valley City, where he was also dubbed a “communist”, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
“Aren’t you embarrassed?”, the Utah senator said in response, describing himself as a man “who says what he means”, and adding that he was “not a fan of our last president’s character issues”.
“You can boo all you like. […] I’ve been a Republican all my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012”, Romney stressed as boos “flew from the crowd like so many poison darts”, according to the newspaper.
The booing only stopped after outgoing party chair Derek Brown called on delegates to “show respect” for the Utah senator, who in turn urged party members to “come together in strength and unity”.
The developments come after Romney, a vocal critic of Donald Trump, told The New York Times in late February that he was “pretty sure” the former US president would win the Republican Party’s presidential primary in 2024 if he decides to run.
When asked whether he himself might consider campaigning against Trump of the latter ran in 2024, Romney said he would support someone else in the party.
“I would not be voting for President Trump again. I haven’t voted for him in the past and I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent”, the senator said.
Romney remains the one and only Republican who voted twice to support the House’s drive to impeach Trump – for alleged abuse of office and obstruction of justice in 2019 and for inciting the deadly riots at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021. In both cases, Trump was acquitted during a Senate trial.
The GOP senator asserted in early 2021 that Trump had “disrespected the American voters, dishonored the election system, and disgraced the office of the presidency”, a reference to the ex-POTUS’ persistent claims the 3 November 2020 presidential election was the “most corrupt” in US history.
Trump, for his part, has repeatedly referred to Romney as RINO (Republican in name only), also slamming the senator as a “choke artist” and “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics”.