Is Romney About to use the Senate to Launch a Primary Challenge to Trump?

So newly-minted Senator Romney feels President Trump’s character is out of line with what America needs. No surprise there. But if you parse Romney’s words - and to be fair he does list the successes of the Trump administration in his op-ed - you’re left with the question of whether Trump’s character is a cause or result of that divisiveness.

"Good character is not an impediment to success. But it is not sufficient for success, either. And if Americans lament the bad character in their political leaders, maybe they ought to look in the mirror and ask some tough questions about who they reward at the ballot box. Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins won reelection in 2018, despite being indicted on fraud charges. New Jersey senator Bob Menendez won reelection easily. Trump's a symptom, not the disease. - Jim Geraghty wrote for the National Review
While Geraghty points to Clinton's presidency and the willingness of Democrats to overlook (or even not care about) his philandering because of the successes of this two-term presidency as a turning point in what voters value in their leaders, I think it goes back a little further.

Had JFK faced the sort of media coverage and attitude of 2018 (yes, it's an outlandish theoretical but bear with me), how would he have fared in the public's opinion? Affairs weren't invented in 1997 or 1961 guys. The way society and media deals with them and comments on them has changed greatly, however. And any historian examining LBJ's or Nixon's character, for example, is engaging in an exercise in ambiguity to put it politely.

And yes, the affairs, the shady deals, the possible corruption, all of that were the purview of historians right through the Watergate years. Not as much the purview of the daily news. There was a clear firewall around much of a sitting president's personal behavior that afterwards became fair game for the historians. Watergate, however, punched holes in that firewall as the narrative became about the isolated, paranoid schemer in the White House and when he would fall. Ford was a pratfall joke for the media, perhaps a sort of comic relief. Then Carter came along and was mocked for his good manners and the naïve policies they seemed to produce.

Part of Reagan's genius was that he had substantial political experience which combined with his Hollywood years was put to good use in understanding how to go around and how to use the media. It was a rare package but even he was mocked mercilessly, precisely as he changed the game and took just a little of the power away from mainstream media.

We've heard accolade after accolade of George H. W. Bush since he passed, almost none of which was heard during his presidency. And then the first baby boomer president was elected, and it was as if the mirror was turned towards all the boomers in the media and the audience. They chose to look away.

Or mostly just to shrug.

And since then it's been about results. Yes, 9/11 brought out the best of America's character but domestic politics - and how to respond to 9/11 have been as divisive as ever.

The divisiveness is not some evil happenstance that Trump the bad wizard waved out of thin air. It's a societal problem with many layers that has been building over several generations.

Mitt Romney was crushed and mocked in 2012 precisely for the values he sees lacking in Trump. Can someone win in 2020 with Reagan's sunny optimism? It would seem unlikely at best. Should Trump try not to be so constantly combative in what are often petty ways? Yeeesss .... Will he? Um ... maybe, once in a while? His tweet back at Mitt Romney was remarkably even-keeled.

Trump, as in so much else of his presidency, is forcing voters to ask the question of what kind of character they actually want in a president. Maybe 2020 will help answer that question. But it will likely be an answer that values winning.

At just about any cost.

You can bet that Senator Romney understands that well if, in fact, he's planning to challenge Trump in the primaries and have another go at being president, his denials aside. And you can bet if he does mount a primary challenge Romney better be prepared to be a lot nastier than he ever was with Obama.

Posted by Keeley at January 3, 2019 6:13 PM
Comment #436413

Mitt Romney proved (again) what an incredible hypocrite he really is.
Romney did not mind Trump helping campaign for him to win his seat in Congress in the 2018 election.
Romney did not mind trying to get the Secretary of State position in Trump’s administration.
One moment, Mitt Romney is condemning Trump, and the next moment, he is kissing Trump’s butt.
Google “Mitt Romney is a hypocrite”.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 3, 2019 6:52 PM
Comment #436416

Interesting article Keeley.

In my view, the primary character I want in my president is a love for the people and country. All the rest is mere window dressing. If a president gets that right, what else matters?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 3, 2019 7:09 PM
Comment #436429

Romney criticized Trump in order to take leadership of the party after Trump is impeached, and set himself up for another run. Is there any doubt about Romney’s motive? I don’t think it will work, but his motive seems transparent.

Is there any doubt Trump has betrayed the country and faces impeachment?

Consider this:

“The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”
Donald Trump 1/2/19

This is Russian propaganda. It is 100% false. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in order to prop up a failing Communist government, under the Brezhnev Doctrine. Trump is literally repeating Russian propaganda provided by the Russians.

Shortly after the Surrender Summit in Helsinki, when asked about Article 5 and NATO, Trump said this in an interview with Tucker Carlson:

“Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” Fox host Tucker Carlson asked.

Trump responded: “I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question.”

“Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people … They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in world war three.”

The “very aggressive” Montenegro military has 2000 soldiers. Once again, Trump is handing Putin a gift by undermining the US commitment to NATO. Russia has been very aggressive with Montenegro. They interfered in the last Montenegro election, and backed a failed coup attempt.

There’s more, obviously. Trump has been compromised. But the point is that Romney knows this, and sees an opportunity. Who else will lead the GOP after a Trump impeachment? And even if Trump somehow evades impeachment- after all, the SCO is running a criminal investigation, and that means a high bar for bringing criminal charges, plus GOP Senators voting for it- but even if Trump avoids impeachment, the GOP will be utterly crippled, and deservedly so, for backing Trump.

Romney is right to reach for the 2020 brass ring, but so tarnished, there is little chance of this working for him.

Posted by: phx8 at January 4, 2019 12:26 PM
Comment #436431
phx8 predicts again: Romney criticized Trump in order to take leadership of the party after Trump is impeached,…
Impeached for what crime, and where is the proof? Posted by: d.a.n at January 4, 2019 2:04 PM
Comment #436432

Can anyone explain why Trump is repeating Putin’s propaganda about Afghanistan? Anyone?

And re impeachable offense, from the SDNY sentencing memo:

“During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories – each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 – so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.”

Individual 1 is Trump. Woman 1 is McDougal, Woman 2 McDaniels.

“First, Cohen’s commission of two campaign finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for President of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

“After the election, he arranged for his own reimbursement via fraudulent invoices for non-existent legal services ostensibly performed pursuant to a non-existent ‘retainer’ agreement. And even when public reports of the payments began to surface, Cohen told shifting and misleading stories about the nature of the payment, his coordination with the candidate, and the fact that he was reimbursed.”

“Cohen’s crimes are particularly serious because they were committed on the eve of a Presidential election, and they were intended to affect that election.”

So that is conspiracy to violate campaign finance law. Two counts on this felony.

This part about Individual 1 was included by the SDNY prosecutor, and allowed by the judge to be included, not because of Cohen’s character as a witness, but because there is a mountain of corroborating evidence. Cohen was telling the truth about this according to that evidence, and that is MORE than enough to draft articles of impeachment.

Posted by: phx8 at January 4, 2019 2:58 PM
Comment #436433

There are at least two corroborating witnesses: David Pecker from the National Enquirer, who has publicly acknowledged arranging payment to McDaniels, and Wesselberg, Trump’s CFO.

Posted by: phx8 at January 4, 2019 3:04 PM
Comment #436434

Spelling correction, Allen Weisselberg.

Posted by: phx8 at January 4, 2019 3:05 PM
Comment #436435

As much as phx8 wants to believe it, that’s not evidence of an impeachable offense by Trump. It is merely Cohen’s word against Trump’s word, and Cohen already has been charged with tax evasion and perjury, which ruins the credibility of his claims. Unless Cohen has an audio/video tape of Trump explicitly instructing Cohen to misuse campaign funds, then there is no proof. It also makes no sense to use campaign funds. It is more likely that Cohen violated campaign finance laws.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 4, 2019 3:19 PM
Comment #436441

phx8, see number (01) below…

Top 10 Abuses of Theory and Logic:

  • (10) IRRELEVANT COMPARISONS (apples to oranges):
      Example: Why use a hand-gun for self defense to stop an intruder from breaking and entering your home, when a nuclear missile would be more effective?
      Example: Your theory of gravity doesn’t address the question of why there are no unicorns, so your theory must be wrong.
      Example: Sure the experts say you shouldn’t ride a bicycle in the eye of a hurricane, but I have my own theory.
      Example: My car won’t start. I’m certain the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue clowns.
  • (06) OVER-APPLICATION OF OCCAM’S RAZOR (which states that the simplest explanation must be correct):
      Example: The simplest explanation for the moon landings is that they were hoaxes.
      Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: they were good singers.
      Example: The sun causes sunburns. Therefore the planet would be better off without the sun.
      Example: I bought an encyclopedia but I’m still ignorant.
      Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know, he’ll be lopping your limbs off.
      Example: I’ve never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those Amish people.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 4, 2019 5:42 PM
Comment #436442

“It is merely Cohen’s word against Trump’s word, and Cohen already has been charged…”

True. If there were no supporting evidence, and this was just a matter of he said/he said, that would not be enough. That is why the corroborating evidence and witnesses matter. Cohen “arranged for his own reimbursement via fraudulent invoices for non-existent legal services ostensibly performed pursuant to a non-existent ‘retainer’ agreement.”

David Pecker participated in this. We already have his public acknowledgment. Weisselberg also participated, and he testified before a grand jury, although to this point he has not made public statements. In addition, we already know Cohen made recordings. Meanwhile, Trump has denied it, but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his denials.

This is more than sufficient to draft articles of impeachment.

Will it happen? Not soon. Most Democrats want to wait for the report by the SCO. Fair enough. But let us be clear. The Cohen case is enough, all by itself, to impeach

Posted by: phx8 at January 4, 2019 10:17 PM
Comment #436443
The Cohen case is enough, all by itself, to impeach Trump.
You don’t know that.
You can’t know that.
That’s all just wishful thinking.
You still have provided no proof, and either has anyone else. Posted by: d.a.n at January 4, 2019 10:50 PM
Comment #436458

Also, unless there is credible evidence of a crime, it isn’t likely the majority of 53 senators will vote for impeachment.
But, the bigger problem for Trump haters is that the evidence provided so far is worthless.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 5, 2019 1:56 PM
Comment #436459

“Is there any doubt Trump has betrayed the country and faces impeachment?”

Not among the brain-dead Libbies phx8. Not an ounce of proof of anything against the president and yet the Lefties howl like injured hyenas.

Many thanks to d.a.n. for your “Top 10 Abuses of Theory and Logic:”

I could find our Liberal Pals in nearly all of these. They filter nearly every thing they believe through a political prism and get a view that is distorted.

It is truly disturbing to read the thoughts of our Pals on the Left. Some of the new Democrat members to the HOR are expressing such batty ideas and political nonsense that even CNN and MSNBC are having problems explaining what is happening to the Dems.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 5, 2019 2:31 PM
Comment #436460

Trump has denied it, but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his denials.

Really phx8, are you this mentally impaired? Are you so angry and vindictive that you can’t even think like an informed American citizen any more? Denials now must be followed by proof?

d.a.n., the constitution requires a two-thirds majority of Senate “members present” to convict a president who has been impeached by the House.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 5, 2019 2:41 PM
Comment #436462

Two-thirds of the senate?
That ain’t gonna happen. Not unless there is irrefutable evidence, and two-thirds of the senate believe the evidence of a crime that is serious enough to justify impeachable.

phx8 is just blathering and making up stuff to be irritating, but looking ridiculous instead, because all of the so-called proof phx8 provided is not proof of anything, but it’s doing wonders for phx8’s credibility and predictions track-record.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 5, 2019 6:17 PM
Comment #436463

So why did Trump make that statement about Afghanistan? He repeated Russian propaganda that the WSJ just denounced in an op-ed as “utterly false.” Trump said “the reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia” and “Russia was right to be there.”

You can bet people at the SCO sat up in their chairs when they heard that little gem.

Why is Trump repeating a false story about the Soviet Union and Afghanistan? No one in the world other than Putin says that. How did this Russian propaganda reach Trump? Why is Trump repeating it?


Posted by: phx8 at January 5, 2019 6:40 PM
Comment #436464

Why? Why? Why? Who cares?
Trump called them terrorists, but they were actually rebels (anti-Soviet Government groups), and many of them were from rural parts of Afghanistan, and after many years of open rebellion, the Soviet Army entered Afghanistan on December 24, 1979, in order to try to prop up their communist government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) against the growing insurgency of the Mujahideen, and smaller Maoist groups, who fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army.

Is that supposed to be proof of an impeachable offense?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 6, 2019 12:54 AM
Comment #436484

The latest claim by Democrat leaders is that “walls don’t work” in keeping out illegals.

Can we apply that same logic to our nation’s prison population? Does anyone believe that “walls don’t work” to keep prisoners in prison?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 7, 2019 4:06 PM
Comment #436485

Ocasio-Cortez: ‘No question’ President Trump is racist

I am pleased that so many of the Liberal mainstream talking heads are paying so much attention to the “hair-on-fire” newly minted Democrat reps to the HOR. I want these people, and those media folks who hang on their every word, to keep up the good work. They are revealing just how far down the party and its elected members have fallen in exercising judgement and in recognizing their duties as elected reps.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 7, 2019 4:21 PM
Comment #436487

There is no question whatsoever that Trump is a racist. Do we really need to revisit Trump’s 2012 campaign, which was based on a fundamentally racist conspiracy theory of Birtherism, or his comments about Charlottesville, or those about the Judge Trump claimed could not fairly decide a case because he was Mexican, or… I mean, this list goes on and on.

AOL is awesome. You are seeing the future. She is charismatic, her political instincts are excellent, and she has already proven adept at using social media. This is what Millennial politics will look like. She is only 29 and she has a lot to learn. But she comes from a generation that was destroyed by conservative Republican politics. An entire generation found itself graduating from college with enormous debts, health care was unaffordable, and Global Warming threatened the long term future of the planet; meanwhile, thanks to tax cuts and corruption, the wealth of the past four decades was increasingly concentrated at the top, even as federal deficits and the national debt ballooned. (By the way, the national debt has increased $2 trillion in just 2 years under Trump, and the deficit has increased to nearly a trillion). She is the political forerunner of a generation that is tolerant of race, gender, and religion, and intolerant of the racism of Trump and his ilk.

Is it any wonder conservatives are both fixated and terrified of her? They should be. She is the future, and that future does not include the darkness and greed and destructiveness offered by conservatism. To paraphrase AOL: the dark hates the light.

Posted by: phx8 at January 7, 2019 5:33 PM
Comment #436488

phx8 if that dolt from New York is the future of the country this country is in deep S××T. We will be a third world country like Venezuela.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 7, 2019 5:51 PM
Comment #436489
phx8 wrote: There is no question whatsoever that Trump is a racist.
Funny how those habitually screaming Racism are actually the true racists, as demonstrated by their numerous comments.
For example:
  • [01] phx8 wrote: Thank you for cutting and pasting my comments. I stand by every single one, and I am gratified to see such consistently high quality in my work. Much appreciated.
  • [02] phx8 wrote: Prejudice against immigrants among U.S. whites is NOT new … So what is happening today is NOT new, or some sort of intractable problem. Racism and bigotry from the rural, white crowds of Trump reflect a long American tradition of hatred.
    • [Apparently, based on phx8’s numerous statements here, phx8 does not like “white” people ?]
  • [03] phx8 wrote: if Tucker Carlson wants to spread hatred and white nationalism on FOX, he should expect consequences.
  • [04] phx8 wrote: Tucker Carlson is a white nationalist. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE PROGRAM- catering to the bigotry and racism and fears of the white FOX audience.
    • [phx8 is essentially calling all white people that watch Tucker Carlson racists.]
  • [05] phx8 wrote: We have seen an unconstitutional effort to ban all Muslims from coming to this country.
      [That comment by phx8 is false, because the ban was for specific nations with a lot of terrorism. There was never an executive action that banned Muslims only. The Supreme Court, in the end, upheld Trump’s travel ban]
  • [06] phx8 wrote: And heavens! Immigrants, legal and illegal, might vote for Democrats! LOL. Worst excuse for bigotry- ever.
  • [07] phx8 wrote: Not the majority. 30% [of Americans are racist] seems about right. You might wonder how that can be possible. But we are not the first country to experience this.
  • [08] phx8 wrote: In other words, it is a lie. It is a classic example of xenophobia, and the implication with “Middle Easterners” [in the caravan] is intended to stoke Islamophobia as well.
    • [However, the Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales reported in October 2018 that 100 people were arrested and deportated, who were “highly linked to terrorist groups, specifically ISIS”. Source:]
  • [09] phx8 wrote: Oh, for Pete’s sake! That is the worst kind of fear mongering… . That is why Trump spreads the language of hate, claiming illegal and legal immigrants have been “sent” by Mexico, that they are “criminals” and “rapists,” members of MS-13, “hardened criminals,” “no angels,” and so on.
    • [Most are only looking for jobs, but many are criminals, and many have already been deported many times. Also, thousands of U.S. citizens are killed per year by criminal non-citizens (Source:; bassed on a study of 5 states: AZ,CA,FL,NY,TX); 32% of all people incarcerated in federal prisons are illegal immigrants, and that does not include all types of crime by illegal immigrants (Source: (Source#1: ; Source: );
  • [10] phx8 wrote: So, yeah. A U.S. President declaring ‘I’m a nationalist’ scares the crap out of anyone who knows anything about history.
  • [11] phx8 wrote: Another reason the GOP continues shrinking is the fact that it is a party of ideology, unlike the Democrats, who are a coalition party. The idea that Republicans have “diversity of thinking” is laughable.
    • [phx8 is essentially implying (again) that Republicans are racist.]
  • [12] phx8 wrote: And I do not subscribe to your thinking that only white men can represent women; that only white men can represent blacks; and so on.
    • [Another lie and example of playing the race card by phx8, since no one on WatchBlog wrote such a thing.].
  • [13] phx8 wrote: The GOP resulted to the unfavorable demographic squeeze of the past decades by rejecting the change, and doubling down on its dwindling base of ageing white, rural males with high school education or less.
  • [14] phx8 wrote: The Democrats are incredibly diverse, including blacks, Muslims, and LGBT, representing the make-up of America. The Republicans? Eh, not so much. Just white identity politics as usual.
    • [phx8 is essentially implying (again) that Republicans are racist.]
  • [15] phx8 wrote: There are the racists, bigots, xenophobes, Islamophobes, and misogynists who support Trump, and there are those who are willing to overlook such vile stuff.
    • [phx8 is essentially implying (again) that Trump supporters are racist.]
  • [16] phx8 wrote: For the incoming 116th Congressional Republicans, there are 29 white males in the House, and one female. Overall, the House GOP will consist of 90% white males.
  • [17] phx8 wrote: As for immigration, I would be fine with open borders.
  • [18] phx8 wrote: That is pretty much the definition of bigotry. Maybe it is a little easier for me to see.
    • [Especially if phx8 is looking in a mirror. Or, perhaps phx8 needs glasses?]
  • [19] phx8 wrote: Did you know my children are technically 1/4 Hispanic? My wife and daughter both speak fluent Spanish, although they do not consider themselves Hispanic. Unlike Tucker Carlson, I have no problem whatsoever with Latin, Mexican, or other Hispanic influence on our culture, or Hispanics in the workplace.
    • [phx8 has failed to show any proof that Tucker Carlson is racist, or that Tucker Carlson has a problem with Latin, Mexican, or Hispanic influence or Hispanics in the workplace?. Anyone who disagrees with phx8, according to phx8, must be a racist?]
  • [20] phx8 wrote: What it means is that, whereas Nixon and Bush #43 saw their approval ratings drop into the 20’s and even teens, the Trump floor may remain, with the 30% or so of the deplorables supporting the agenda of white identity politics no matter how bad the corruption gets, because very simply, white identity politics for that 30% is MUCH more important than honest governance or our democratic system.
    • [phx8 is essentially implying (again) that Republicans are racist.]
  • [21] phx8 wrote: There is no question whatsoever that Trump is a racist.
    • [No, there is no question that the true racist is the person who habitually plays the race-card at every opportunity possible, and habitually calls others (that disagree with them: Racists!, Bigots!, Fascists!]
Royal Flush wrote: I am pleased that so many of the Liberal mainstream talking heads are paying so much attention to the “hair-on-fire” newly minted Democrat reps to the HOR. I want these people, and those media folks who hang on their every word, to keep up the good work.
Right!. They are the gifts that keep on giving, and they also do not represent the majority of voters (i.e. Republicans, most Independents, and some Democrats).
Posted by: d.a.n at January 7, 2019 8:08 PM
Comment #436490

Notice the common-thread through phx8’s comments listed above.
phx8 negatively refers to “white” or “white male” above 13 times.
Nothing racist about that, eh?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 7, 2019 8:19 PM
Comment #436491

By the way, it isn’t AOL.
It is AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 7, 2019 8:39 PM
Comment #436509

Our Liberal/Progressive/Socialist Pal phx8 just keeps on giving us conservatives grins and chuckles. Our Libby Pals don’t even know the definition of “Racism”.

Wikipedia - “Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another…”

Oxford dictionary - “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

So Liberals, define “race” for us please. How is it that a black person can call another black person a “racist”?

How is it that a white person can call another white person a “racist”?

Is there a “human race” scientifically categorized as “Hispanic”? Of course not. Hispanic people can be of any race. What our Liberal Pals fail to understand is that the word “race” does not have the same meaning as “ethnicity”. But then, confusion reigns among them; and for that, I am pleased.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 8, 2019 6:05 PM
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