Trump’s supporters on the ground weren’t the only Republicans annoyed with Mitt Romney’s sanctimonious op-ed bashing President Trump’s “character” in the Washington Post last week. According to Politico, Senate Republicans are likely to give the incoming Utah senator a chilly reception on Capitol Hill, baffled as to why he would get off on such a very bad foot.
Sen. James Lankford will occasionally take issue with President Donald Trump’s tactics and rhetoric. But he’s not sure what Mitt Romney was thinking with his biting condemnation of the president before he was even sworn into office.
“It kind of felt like the same thing Trump does to everybody, Romney does to Trump. Smack you, and then want to negotiate,” said Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma. “It is funny to me that while he was complaining about President Trump’s personal attacks, he was personally attacking President Trump. I don’t know if he sees the irony in it.”
When Romney heads into his first Republican Conference meeting later this week, he might face an awkward reception from many of his fellow Republican senators. Some are scratching their heads about why Romney ripped Trump in a Washington Post op-ed; others are angry about reopening an intraparty divide. And it could color how Senate Republicans view Romney over the long term, raising questions about his effectiveness in the GOP conference.
Our take on this whole thing is that it’s not going to matter nearly as much as GOP senators think it’s going to. Jeff Flake, Bob Corker? Did those idiots make a hair’s worth of difference? They got a bunch of positive press from the liberal media, and that’s about it. They couldn’t even run for re-election, they’d so sullied their chances with their constant attacks on their own president. Romney is going to be in for the same thing. If he wants to play ball, President Trump will be more than happy to forgive and forget (as he has already done several times). If he doesn’t, that’s fine too. The Republicans have a solid enough majority in the Senate now that we can afford it if this guy wants to defect out of some misguided approach to “principle.”
What Romney is certainly not going to do is “reopen an intraparty divide.” There IS no intraparty divide. There is Trump, there are Trump’s supporters, and then there’s a handful of sour neocons who don’t realize that the world has moved on. They don’t matter. They literally don’t mean a thing.