Sen. Mitt Romney believes that former President Donald Trump could win the GOP nomination in 2024, he said Tuesday night.
“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination,” he told listeners during an interview for The New York Times’ DealBook DC Policy Project.
“A lot can happen between now and 2024,” the Utah senator and former GOP presidential candidate said. “I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide.”
Romney is not alone in that opinion. In a Politico/Morning Consult poll that ran in February, 54% of Republicans surveyed said they would vote for Trump in the next GOP primary.
Romney was an outspoken critic of Trump during his tenure and was the only GOP member of the Senate to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial on charges of obstruction of justice. His vote caused Trump to thereafter refer to Romney as a “Democrat secret asset.”
Trump’s nickname didn’t prevent Romney from voting to convict the former president during his second impeachment trial this past February. Trump was charged with “incitement of insurrection” for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol siege.
Following the insurrection, Romney made an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate.
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” he said.
“The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost,” he continued.
Romney has before expressed concern that the Trump wing of the Republican party would outlast his presidential term. Last November he told “Meet the Press” that Trump was “not disappearing by any means.”
“He’s the 900-pound gorilla when it comes to the Republican party,” he said.
Though no fan of Trump, Romney has also been critical of the Biden administration. Speaking to Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin, Romney called Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan “wasteful.”
“I find it a very troublesome bill, not so much because of the price tag, which is pretty substantial, but because there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s just simply wasteful,” he said. “I wish we could use the money in there that we’re going to go out and borrow from China to actually do things that’ll make a difference.”
In the age of Trump, Romney was often at odds with the more populist wing of the GOP. He told Sorkin he remained a “more traditional conservative than some of the populist rhetoric within my party.”
Looking forward to the 2024 election, Romney stressed that there was no love lost between himself and the former president.
“I would not be voting for President Trump again. I haven’t voted for him in the past. I would be getting behind somebody in the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent.”