As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney returns to the national stage with a U.S. Senate bid in Utah, he has emerged with a revised analysis of the Trump administration.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee became one of the party’s fiercest opponents of candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign season.
Though he retains much of that criticism as it pertains to Trump’s combative style of politics, Romney nonetheless thinks the president is in a better-than-expected position ahead of the 2020 election.
In recent remarks to Republican donors, the candidate cited the economy and Democratic shortsightedness as the two leading reasons for his positive prediction.
“I think President Trump will be renominated by my party easily, and I think he’ll be re-elected solidly,” Romney said.
He went on to explain that his forecast also extends to Republicans running for office in the upcoming midterm elections. Despite continued optimism by many Democrats who think the party can regain a majority in one or both congressional chambers, Romney thinks their celebrations might be premature.
“I think that growth and the higher incomes people are seeing means that Republicans will do just fine in November,” he said. “I think we will hold the House. I think we’ll hold the Senate. I know a lot of pundits don’t believe that; I think we will.”
As for the 2020 race, Romney said he thinks a victory for Trump will come down to two factors.
“I think that not just because of the strong economy and because people are increasingly seeing rising wages,” he said. “But I think it’s also true because I think our Democrat friends are likely to nominate someone who is really out of the mainstream of American thought and will make it easier for a president who is presiding over a growing economy.”
Trump’s views on Romney appear to have moderated over the past two years, too, if only for political reasons. The president gave his former critic a hearty endorsement in the current race.
Shortly after Romney announced his campaign, Trump tweeted his support.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
“He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!” he wrote in February.
Though the two politicians might have become strange bedfellows within the GOP, Romney made it clear in a recent interview that he still has reservations about the way Trump conducts himself.
Asked for his assessment of the Trump presidency at this point, he offered a nuanced response.
“I believe his policies have been by and large a good deal better than I might have expected,” he said. “But some of the things he said are not ones that I would aspire for my grandkids to adopt.”
Romney also criticized Trump for making dishonest statements and attacking others in a manner he feels “is not entirely appropriate.”