OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Never-Trump Republican Sen. Mitt Romney appears to have played a role behind the scenes in helping President Joe Biden get elected, according to a new book.
In 2012, Biden was on the Democratic ticket that successfully defeated Romney, then the Republican nominee for president. But six years later, in early November 2018, Romney offered Biden some surprising political advice, Mediate noted.
Romney, whom then-President-elected Donald Trump passed over for secretary of state, spoke on the phone to Biden after Romney won his Utah Senat race and reportedly pressed him to run for president in 2020 to get Trump out of the White House.
“You have to run,” New York Magazine national correspondent Gabriel Debenedetti quoted Romney as saying to Biden, an exchange that is contained in Debenedetti’s upcoming book, “The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama.”
Martin Pengelly of The Guardian was sent an advanced copy of the book and noted the conversation between former political rivals.
“Romney’s exhortation to a man then seen as a likely challenger to Donald Trump in 2020 will probably further enrage the former president, his supporters, and the Republican party they dominate,” Pengelly reported, according to Mediate.
“Biden spent election night glued to his phone as usual … He talked to most of the candidates he’d campaigned for, and plenty he didn’t, either to congratulate or console them, or just to catch up,” writes Debenedetti.
“This time felt better than 2016 in part because Democrats were winning big, at least in local races and in the House. But it was also because of a refrain [Biden] kept hearing, and not always from the most expected sources,” Debenedetti noted further.
The refrain was that those around Biden kept urging him to throw his hat in the ring and run for president in 2020 as many saw him then as the most electable of all Democrats — and someone who could reenergize a coalition of voters former President Barack Obama stitched together to win two terms.
Pengelly added a note about sourcing for the book:
In a note on sourcing, Debenedetti says his book is “primarily the product of hundreds of interviews” with “colleagues, aides, rivals, confidants, allies and eyewitnesses from every stage” of Obama and Biden’s careers since 2003.
“When someone’s words are rendered in italics, that indicates an approximation based on the memories of sources who did not recall exact wordings,” Pengelly adds, noting that the quote attributed to Romney — “You have to run” — is in italics.
A report in May noted that Romney was again working to subvert Trump ahead of an expected 2024 presidential bid by the 45th president.
According to Deseret News, Romney is using his connection with the liberal Washington Post to spread talking points about how Democrats can use the filibuster to stop Trump if he runs for president again and wins re-election.
Romney said Democrats should keep the filibuster as a technical strategy to prevent Trump from passing an agenda in the event that he becomes president again.
“Have Democrats thought through what it would mean for them for Trump to be entirely unrestrained, with the Democratic minority having no power whatsoever? If Democrats eliminate the filibuster now, they — and the country — may soon regret it very much,” Romney said.
Romney then went after Trump without actually mentioning him by name: “For several years, many of us have recoiled as foundational American institutions have repeatedly been demeaned: The judiciary has been accused of racial bias; the media maligned as the enemy of the people; justice and intelligence agencies belittled; public health agencies dismissed; even our election system has been accused of being rigged.”
The Utah Republican went on to predict that Trump could win again, saying he has a “reasonable chance” in the next election.
That prediction came after another one a month earlier when Romney, who voted both times to impeach the former president, said Trump will be the nominee if he campaigns for president in 2024,
“I don’t delude myself into thinking I have a big swath of the Republican Party,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s hard to imagine anything that would derail his support. So if he wants to become the nominee in ‘24, I think he’s very likely to achieve that.”