- Utah Democrat Jenny Wilson roasted her Senate race opponent, former ‘Never Trumper’ Mitt Romney, after Romney thanked President Donald Trump for his endorsement.
- Wilson criticised Romney for allying himself with a president whose endorsement he previously said he would never accept.
Utah Democrat Jenny Wilson roasted her Senate race opponent, former ‘Never Trumper’ Mitt Romney, after Romney thanked President Donald Trump for his endorsement on Monday.
Wilson, a Salt Lake County Council member, retweeted a message Romney wrote in March 2016 stating that he would not have accepted Trump’s endorsement if the president “had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled.”
She asked, “So why did you accept it today?”
So why did you accept it today?https://t.co/aE6NdMd1nW
— Jenny Wilson for UT (@JennyWilsonUT) February 20, 2018
Wilson’s tweet was liked 41,000 times by Tuesday afternoon.
The comment echoes a longstanding critique of Romney: that he is a flip-flopper on key issues and, as President Barack Obama argued in 2012, has “no core.”
Romney’s relationship with Trump has been marked by a series of dramatic public reversals.
In 2012, Trump tweeted his endorsement of Romney’s presidential run against Obama, telling his followers to “go out and vote” for the Republican, whom he called “fantastic.”
But in the summer of 2015, Romney publicly criticised Trump after the then-presidential candidate attacked Arizona Sen. John McCain’s military service. And several months later, as Trump closed in on the GOP nomination, Romney escalated his attacks on Trump, famously excoriating the candidate’s character and record, calling him a “phony” and a “fraud” whose “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
Trump hit back repeatedly, calling the former party leader “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics,” and a “dope” who “choked like a dog” when he lost to Obama in 2012.
But just months later, Romney, reportedly angling to become Trump’s secretary of state, cozied up to the president-elect, meeting with him on multiple occasions.
Over the last year, Romney has been critical of Trump in response to a few of the president’s most controversial actions and statements, including Trump’s reaction to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in last August.
Wilson has very little chance of beating Romney, who enjoys overwhelming popularity in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate in decade. A January poll found he would win 64% of the vote to Wilson’s 19%.
A devout Mormon, Romney has deep religious and familial connections to the state, where he has spent a good chunk of his time since 2013, and is beloved for rescuing Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal.
But Utah, a ruby red state, is not particularly fond of Trump, who won just 45% of the vote in 2016. And Romney will likely keep some distance from the president throughout his campaign.
“The fact that Romney is at once America’s most famous Never Trumper, the world’s most recognisable Mormon, and the face of the pre-Trump GOP, has won him support across the political spectrum in Utah,” Max Perry Mueller, a religious studies professor at the University of Nebraska, wrote in Slate on Tuesday.
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