Former president Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at Utah senatorMitt Romney with an hours-long ranting session on his Truth Social website, after asking his followers there to weigh the relative merits of Mr Romney and Texas Senator John Cornyn.
Mr Trump asked: “Who is a worse Senator, John ‘The Stiff’ Cornyn of Texas, or Mitt ‘The Loser’ Romney of Massachusetts (Utah?)?”
The ex-president’s invocation of the Bay State was a reference to Mr Romney’s single term as governor there, where he served from 2003 to 2007. The Michigan native, whose family has longstanding ties to Utah through its membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended university there and was a key player in efforts to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He became a full-time Utah resident after he lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama.
Mr Trump, answering his own question, described both Mr Romney and Mr Cornyn as “weak, ineffective, and very bad for the Republican Party, and our Nation” and mocked both men for wearing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The twice-impeached, twice-indicted former chief executive spent the next several hours reposting multiple responses from his followers, with the majority being of a derogatory nature towards Mr Romney, the only GOP senator to vote for conviction at both of his impeachment trials.
His tirade against Mr Romney came not long after the Utah Republican penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging GOP donors to use their influence strategically to keep Mr Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination contest with the aid of a split field of challengers.
Mr Romney, who twice ran for the GOP nomination — once successfully — said any of the 12 other challengers not named Trump could be the party’s standard-bearer “if the field narrows to a two-person race before Mr Trump has the nomination sewn up”.
“For that to happen, Republican megadonors and influencers—large and small—are going to have to do something they didn’t do in 2016: get candidates they support to agree to withdraw if and when their paths to the nomination are effectively closed,” he wrote.
Mr Romney added that the donors should execute this hypothetical plan no later than 26 February 2024, one week after primary caucuses and elections in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
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