Last year, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was serious about making one last bid for the White House. Only after realizing that Jeb Bush had already secured pledges from most of the top Republican donors did he decide to sit out the 2016 election. Of course, as it turned out, Bush – even with a reported $100 million war chest – could barely make a blip on the electoral radar. In the year of Donald Trump, the former Florida governor was just another victim.
Since then, Romney has become one of Trump’s biggest and most outspoken detractors. When the primary field had winnowed to three, Romney delivered a scathing speech attacking Trump, encouraging voters to support whichever alternative candidate had the best chance of winning in their state. Asked at the time if he might consider throwing his hat into the ring, though, he insisted that it was out of the question.
Romney hasn’t quite gone back on that assertion, but a new interview has many thinking that he’s leaving the door slightly cracked.
“My wife and kids wanted me to run again this time,” he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week. “I got an email from one of my sons yesterday saying, ‘You gotta get in, Dad – you gotta get it.'”
Would he? “The door is closed,” he maintained, “unless both candidates come to me and ask me to please save them. I think that’s unlikely. I can’t imagine the circumstances that would lead me to be in the race.”
Romney, of course, knows as well as anyone that he stands no chance of winning the presidency this year. As an independent, he probably wouldn’t even be able to get on enough state ballots to make a serious bid for the White House. And if the delegates revolt in Cleveland and nominate someone other than Trump, that someone will get trounced by Hillary Clinton.
In the meantime, he’s just another bitter Republican making it more difficult for the party to unite around the presumptive nominee. It was apparently not enough for him to personally cost the GOP an election; he wants to see to it that they lose in 2016 as well.
No doubt, Romney’s problems with Trump are heartfelt. No one’s suggesting that he put his concerns aside and endorse the New York billionaire.
But for God’s sake, put a lid on it. The voters have chosen. Deal with it.