While the vast majority of Democrats, backed by the media, are rushing headlong toward impeachment of President Donald Trump over allegations that he solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, among other things, the most Republicans have either defended the president or held their tongues — except one.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), long a critic of the president, joined Democrats in criticizing Trump’s calls for Ukraine and China to look into allegations of corruption involving Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, as “wrong and appalling.”
Romney not happy
Politico reported that Romney’s sharp critique followed remarks from Trump this week suggesting that both Ukraine and China should take a closer look at suspect business dealings by Hunter Biden in their respective countries.
Romney had already expressed his disapproval of Trump’s alleged pressuring of the Ukrainian president — which the Ukrainian president denies and which is absent from the transcript of the phone call at issue — and called the allegations “troubling in the extreme.”
With regard to the Ukraine claims, Romney tweeted on Sept. 22, “If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out.”
His criticism was kicked up a notch following Trump’s mention of China. Romney tweeted on Friday, “When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated.”
“By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” he added in the two-tweet thread.
Trump hits back
Of course, ever the counter-puncher, President Trump wasted little time in firing back against his outspoken critic with several stinging tweets posted on Saturday.
“Somebody please wake up Mitt Romney and tell him that my conversation with the Ukrainian President was a congenial and very appropriate one, and my statement on China pertained to corruption, not politics. If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!” Trump tweeted.
That was followed moments later by a second, arguably harder-hitting punch, in which Trump wrote, “Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous ‘ass’ who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run (I gave it to him), and when he begged me to be Secretary of State (I didn’t give it to him). He is so bad for R’s!”
It remains unclear at this point what the senator’s motivation for outspokenly opposing President Trump may be, though theories abound.
Does Romney simply want to see a president he hates impeached and removed from office, or is he planning on potentially mounting a “Never Trumper”-backed primary challenge in 2020 against someone he views to be a corrupt and weakened incumbent?