A great devotee of the gospel of Getting On.
— G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession
He’s back. It’s the same old Romney we’ve known over the years. And his reemergence is reassurance. We know what to expect. Mr. Trump, as even his best friends acknowledge, is a man without principle and thanks to recent events, we are reminded that Mr. Romney is similarly bereft. Historical episodes abound.
When Mr. Romney ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, and for governor in 2002, he said he was pro-choice. During the 2012 primary season when he was running for president, he said he supported repealing Roe v. Wade. Whereas, he at one point said he favored a path for illegal immigrants to become citizens, he later said there should be no “special pathway to citizenship.”
When Mr. Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he presided over the enactment of the Massachusetts health care law that was the model for the Obama health care initiative. That law, among other things, imposes a penalty on those who decline to purchase health insurance, subject to some exceptions. As governor, Mr. Romney defended that provision saying it was a penalty and not a tax. When the U.S. Supreme Court said it was a tax and not a penalty, Mr. Romney immediately recognized the error of his earlier ways, and said it was a tax. More recent examples are found when we refer back to 2012 when Mr. Romney was running for the office Mr. Trump now occupies.
In 2012 Mr. Romney was endorsed by Mr. Trump. In gratefully acknowledging the endorsement, he said: “There are some things you just can’t imagine happening in your life. This is one of them. . . . [H]aving his endorsement is a delight. I’m so honored and pleased to have his endorsement.” Things went downhill from there. Romney lost the election. Then Trump ran.
On February 24, 2016, Trump tweeted that in asking for Trump’s endorsement in 2012, Romney was “so awkward and goofy that we all should have known he could not win!” The next day Trump tweeted: “Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!” Less than one month later Mr. Romney delivered a speech at the University of Utah in which he said, among other things: “Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics. . . . There’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake. . . .” Then a strange thing happened. Trump became president and Romney became lackey. Here’s how that happened.
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Between Trump’s election and swearing in, he was filling cabinet positions. When Romney thought he was being considered for Secretary of State, he dined with the man he had, but a few months earlier called a “fake” and a “con-man.” In speaking with reporters after dinner, he told reporters he: “had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump. We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. I’ve enjoyed them very, very much.” (What Trump could have said about foreign affairs that was enlightening was not disclosed.)
Mr. Romney did not become Secretary of State. If Trump advisor, Roger Stone, is to be believed, he was never being considered. Mr. Stone said Trump interviewed him “simply to torture him. To toy with him. And given the history, that’s completely understandable.” And following the rejection, Mr. Romney became the same Mr. Romney who criticized Mr. Trump before the election.
After the death of Heather Heyer at the protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Romney said what Trump communicated to the world “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn.” On January 15, 2018, following Trump’s vulgar description of African countries, Romney said: “The sentiment attributed to POTUS is inconsistent w/America’s history and antithetical to American values.” But then, another strange thing happened.
On February 16, 2018, Mr. Romney announced he was running for the U.S. Senate from Utah. On February 19th Trump endorsed the man he had described as “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, saying he would “make a great Senator . . . and has my full support and endorsement.” In less than an hour Romney, who on March 3, 2016 said: “if Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement.” This is not March 3, 2016. It is February 19, 2018. On that day Mr. Romney thanked Trump for his endorsement.
Those who have watched Mr. Romney’s completely unprincipled stands over the years, should not have been taken aback by the rapprochement between the two con men. They are cut from the same cloth.