Dick Morris: Prediction - Romney Will Challenge Trump


The newly elected senator from Utah Mitt Romney wasted no time. Even before he was officially sworn into office, he blasted President Donald Trump in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece writing that the Republican president’s actions of the past two years — and particularly last month — have not “risen to the mantle of the office.”

If Trump has not risen to the mantle, Romney has certainly risen to the bait and is going to run against Trump for the GOP nomination for president in 2020.

Why not? Romney ran in 2004 and 2008. If he runs in 2020, he, Joe Biden, Harold Stassen, William Jennings Bryan and Henry Clay will share the honor of being three-time losers.

Romney lives with the sole goal of becoming president and will not let go of what he considers his destiny: To succeed where his father failed. Move over retiring Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and exiting Tennessee Senator Bob Corker — Romney is running!

Curiously, in his critical Op-Ed, Romney takes pains to endorse the heart of Trump’s actions as president. He supports the tax cut — particularly the corporate reduction. He backs the trade war with China. He supports the president on immigration. But, he cautions, “policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable.”

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Romney, for the record, denies that he is considering a run at Trump, but don’t believe it. This man has been running for president ever since he emerged from the womb and won’t stop now.

It was a sign of his desperation for a national stage that this former governor of Massachusetts packed up his carpetbag and moved to Utah to run for Senate. Knowing he could count on his core support there, he claimed the Senate seat as his own.

Can Romney win?

No. It is significant amid all the attacks on Trump and the pasting he has received in the media, the president’s job approval is unchanged. For the past year or more, he has averaged 46-49 percent approval in the Rasmussen Reports polling and 42-44 percent in the average of the most recent seven polls. His numbers are so constant that they can almost be used as a demographic to measure the accuracy of a sample for national polling.

Trump’s base will not abandon him but will vote massively to reject a challenge from Romney.

Now we have the delightful spectacle of the pot calling the kettle black. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, long a flashpoint for dissent from Republican policies, tweeted: “Like other Big Government Republicans who never liked Reagan, Mitt Romney wants to signal how virtuous he is in comparison to the President. Well, I’m most concerned and pleased with the actual conservative reform agenda.” He attacked Romney’s divisiveness and said that it would make it harder for Republicans to get elected.

But what Romney can do is to give the liberal media plenty of ammo to use in deriding Trump. He gives the establishment the ability to knock the president while appearing to be above party.

Were he to run, it would give Trump the clear ability to distinguish himself from the establishment of his party and appeal to his blue-collar base. Romney lost because he was the image of a “vulture capitalist” and, it was in reaction to this image, that Trump crafted his insurgency.

Now, Romney’s return makes it easier for Donald to be Donald and win while doing it.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.