“Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) predicted on Wednesday that there isn’t an ‘appetite’ for a 2020 White House bid by incoming Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), whose recent criticism of President Trump is fueling talk of a potential primary challenge,” per The Hill on Wednesday.
“‘I don’t think there’s an appetite for a Romney run within the Republican Party,’ Paul told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday, asked if Romney should ‘declare his intentions’ for 2020.
“Romney is under criticism from Trump, conservative allies and even some of his soon-to-be colleagues for a sharply critical Washington Post op-ed where he claimed Trump ‘has not risen to the mantle’ of the presidency.
Romney’s op-ed was titled bluntly, “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short,” and indeed focused far more on the president’s personal behavior rather than his administration’s policies:
“To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation,” according to Romney. “A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.’ A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect.”
The timing of such a meditation on the presidency does indeed raise questions about a 2020 challenge to President Trump or, should Trump choose not to run for reelection, a Republican primary scramble to put forth a new candidate.
According to fellow senator Rand Paul, at least, there’s no party-wide interest in the first of those scenarios. He said that he does not think that a “Romney-type of establishment, big government Republicanism is really frankly popular enough to win a general election.”
Romney will be sworn in as Utah’s newest senator on Thursday, January 3.