Even earlier than Senator Mitt Romney of Utah introduced he wouldn’t search re-election subsequent yr, he made no secret of his disapproval of the path of the Republican Occasion and former President Donald J. Trump’s grip on it.
However in a brand new, deeply reported biography, “Romney: A Reckoning,” set to be launched subsequent week, Mr. Romney goes past his broad disdain for the occasion and provides his unvarnished opinion of a few of his fellow Republicans.
In interviews with the guide’s creator, McKay Coppins, Mr. Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, provides frank value determinations which might be uncommon in Washington.
Such tell-all, insider books typically foster a observe often called the “Washington read,” by which boldfaced names instantly flip via the index to seek out out what damaging assessments might come to hang-out them.
Here’s a number of what Mr. Romney’s friends and colleagues, previous and current, would possibly discover.
Mr. Romney’s advisers in 2012 steered that he take into account Chris Christie, then the governor of New Jersey, as a operating mate, in accordance with the guide.
However Mr. Romney had reservations about Mr. Christie’s “prima donna tendencies,” and frightened that the governor was not “as much as the bodily calls for” of being on the ticket and was suffering from “barely buried” scandals, Mr. Coppins writes.
The 2 additionally got here into battle in 2016 after Mr. Christie turned one of many first institution Republicans to again Mr. Trump.
“I imagine your endorsement of him severely diminishes you morally,” Mr. Romney wrote in an e mail. He added: “You will need to withdraw that help to protect your integrity and character.”
Evaluating Mr. Christie’s 2024 marketing campaign, Mr. Romney labels him “one other bridge-and-tunnel loudmouth” like Mr. Trump, saying it could be “a hoot” to look at the 2 of them spar on the controversy stage.
Mr. Romney referred to as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas “scary” and “a demagogue” in his journal, and in an e mail assessing political candidates in 2016, he mentioned Mr. Cruz was “horrifying.”
He was additionally bluntly important of Mr. Cruz’s position in Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election, together with his perpetuating Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
Mr. Romney mentioned that he believed Mr. Cruz and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, one other objector, have been too good to imagine what they have been saying.
“They have been making a calculation that put politics above the pursuits of liberal democracy and the Structure,” Mr. Romney mentioned.
Of the entire would-be challengers to Mr. Trump, Mr. Romney appeared to have essentially the most to say about Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who was considered early on as having the perfect shot at difficult Mr. Trump for the nomination.
Mr. Romney’s views on the governor have been decidedly combined, in accordance with the guide.
“Mr. Romney needed to love the governor,” Mr. Coppins writes. The senator mentioned that it was a “no-brainer” to help Mr. DeSantis if it meant preserving Mr. Trump out of the White Home.
But Mr. Romney appeared to have reservations. He frightened that Mr. DeSantis shared “odious qualities” with Mr. Trump, pointing to his penchant for stoking the tradition wars and his combat with the Walt Disney Firm.
And Mr. Romney appeared to have objections to the Florida governor on a extra private stage.
“There’s simply no heat in any respect,” Mr. Romney mentioned. He added that when Mr. DeSantis posed for pictures with Iowa voters, “he appears like he’s bought a toothache.”
Even his appraisal of Mr. DeSantis’s optimistic qualities got here with a backhanded sting.
“He’s a lot smarter than Trump,” Mr. Romney mentioned. However, he added, “there’s a peril to having somebody who’s good and pulling in a path that’s harmful.”
Whereas Mr. Romney was operating unsuccessfully for Senate in Massachusetts in 1994, Mr. Gingrich, a hard-line conservative who would grow to be Home speaker, was rising to prominence.
Mr. Romney recollects pondering, in accordance with the guide, that Mr. Gingrich “got here throughout as a smug know-it-all; smarmy and too happy with himself and never an ideal face for our occasion.”
20 years later, when the 2 have been competing towards one another within the Republican presidential major, Mr. Romney was no extra impressed.
Mr. Coppins writes that Mr. Romney noticed Mr. Gingrich as “a ridiculous blowhard who babbled about America constructing colonies on the moon.” He additionally had ethical objections to Mr. Gingrich’s admitted adultery.
In his journal, Mr. Romney wrote that his spouse, Ann, thought that Mr. Gingrich was “a megalomaniac, severely needing psychiatric consideration.”
As he does with many different Republicans within the guide, Mr. Romney hammers Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief, over what he sees as a niche between his private and non-private statements regarding Mr. Trump.
Mr. Coppins writes that Mr. Romney questioned “which model of McConnell was extra genuine: the one who did Trump’s bidding in public, or the one who excoriated him of their non-public conversations.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Romney appears to have respect for Mr. McConnell. In January 2021, he mentioned, he believed Mr. McConnell had been “indulgent of Trump’s deranged habits over the past 4 years, however he’s not loopy.”
Mr. Romney makes his disdain for the previous vp abundantly clear, calling him “a lap canine to Trump for 4 years.”
He appears significantly appalled by what he considered as Mr. Pence’s willingness to compromise his personal ethical views, or contort them, to be a loyal foot soldier to Mr. Trump.
“Nobody had been extra loyal, extra keen to smile when he noticed absurdities, extra keen to ascribe God’s will to issues that have been ungodly, than Mike Pence,” Mr. Romney instructed Mr. Coppins.
Mr. Romney described Mr. Perry, the previous Texas governor who was a rival for the 2012 Republican nomination, as a “dimwit,” Mr. Coppins writes.
In his journal, Mr. Romney wrote of Mr. Perry that “Republicans should understand that we will need to have somebody who can full a sentence.”
In 2016, when Mr. Perry ran a short-lived marketing campaign for president, Mr. Romney mentioned that the Texan’s “prima donna, low-IQ persona” was a non-starter.
The previous senator from Pennsylvania, who additionally ran towards Mr. Romney in 2012, was “sanctimonious, extreme and unusual,” in Mr. Romney’s evaluation.
At one level in the course of the 2012 marketing campaign, Mr. Romney finds himself irked by his rival’s “apparently bottomless self-interest,” Mr. Coppin writes.
In his journal, Mr. Romney mentioned Mr. Santorum was “pushed by ego, not precept.”
Trump, Donald J.
Maybe the freshest revelation in Mr. Romney’s guide is his acknowledgment that lots of his colleagues within the Senate, together with Mr. McConnell, privately shared his poor view of Mr. Trump.
However that harsh evaluation — which might arrange Mr. Romney’s battle with Mr. Trump all through his presidency — was made most clear within the e mail Mr. Romney despatched to Mr. Christie in 2016.
“He’s unquestionably mentally unstable, and he’s racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, vulgar and susceptible to violence,” Mr. Romney wrote. “There may be merely no rational argument that might lead me to vote for somebody with these traits.”