Former President Donald Trump issued a statement accusing Senator Mitt Romney of having “abused” fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee and excoriated him for his refusal to make an endorsement in Lee’s re-election bid against ‘Never Trump’ Republican Evan McMullin.
“Mike Lee is an outstanding Senator who has been abused, in an unprecedented way, by a fellow Republican Senator from his own State, something which rarely has happened in political History,” Trump said in a release sent to subscribers of his Save America PAC emails.
“Such an event would only be understandable if Mike did not perform his duties as a United States Senator, but he has, and he has performed them well,” he added.
Romney, in a statement to The Hill, said he was staying out of the race between Lee and McMullin because he is fond of both candidates.
“I’ve worked with Mike a lot and appreciate the work we do together,” he said. “But both are good friends, and I’m going to stay out.”
Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) refusal to step up to the plate and back Lee in his campaign against McMullin has led to accusations that he is, by default, aiding Democrats in maintaining control of the Senate.
Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway called Romney’s non-endorsement a “plot to sabotage (the) Republican party” and “keep (the) Senate Democrat.”
The latest polls show Lee ahead by a mere four points in the Utah race. In a current 50-50 Senate, his victory could be pivotal in deciding which party has control after the 2022 midterms.
Lee, sensing the gravity of the situation, publicly pleaded with Romney to back him.
“Please, get on board,” Lee said, looking directly into the camera during an appearance with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “Help me win re-election. Help us do that. You can get your entire family to donate to me.”
Trump’s statement went on to bash McMullin – who he repeatedly refers to as “McMuffin” – and Romney as not being representative of Utah’s values.
“McMuffin does not represent the values of Utah, but neither, as you will see in two years, does Mitt Romney, who refuses to endorse his fellow Republican Senator, Mike Lee,” said Trump.
“Mike should now accept that fact and go on to win a race against a man who should have, based on his failed career as a politician, no chance of winning.”
McMullin, a former CIA agent, has been a fierce critic of the former President.
“Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy,” McMullin told Reuters. “The party needs to recommit to truth, reason and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new.”
Romney received an endorsement from McMullin for his own Senate bid in Utah in 2018.
But Romney also got an endorsement from Trump, who recognized the need to elect Republican candidates to the Senate. Romney gratefully accepted Trump’s endorsement.
Now, however, Trump has said he will not endorse Romney if he runs for re-election in 2024.
“Mike Lee is outstanding and has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” he said. “Mitt Romney and Evan McMuffin can count on the fact that they will never have my Endorsement!”
After accepting Trump’s endorsement for Utah senator in 2018, Romney wrote a scathing op-ed indicating Trump had failed to live up to the “mantle” of the presidency.
Trump has called Romney a “super RINO,” and a “stone-cold loser.”
Reports surfaced this past Spring indicating Romney wears a disguise when venturing out into public as a means to avoid Trump supporters.
The Senator also ran a fake Twitter account to attack Trump, using the name “Pierre Delecto.”
“As Delecto, Romney, who has become one of President Trump’s most vocal GOP critics, used the account to like critical tweets about the president, while also occasionally defending himself against detractors,” the Washington Post reported in 2019.
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