As he’s expressed his desire to join the U.S. Senate, Mitt Romney has privately revealed that a driving purpose of his service would be to emulate a former rival and fellow foiled Republican presidential nominee: Sen. John McCain.
“There’s got to be somebody who can stand up to the president,” Romney told members of the Utah congressional delegation in recent weeks, according to a person with knowledge of his comments. “Who’s going to stand up to Trump?”
In contemplating his own question, Romney’s referenced that McCain has filled the role of principled objector to the Trumppresidency, opposing his travel ban, sinking his health care repeal with an emphatic thumbs-down vote, blasting his “half-baked, spurious nationalism,” and repudiating his coziness with Vladimir Putin. Romney may not share all of McCain’s precise positions, but he admires the Arizona Republican’s fearlessness during an especially turbulent chapter in U.S. politics.
“I’ve been told that Romney has said he wants to be a McCain-like figure in the Senate,” says Dave Owen, a longtime Utah Republican strategist who doesn’t count himself a Romney supporter.
With the 81-year-old McCain battling brain cancer and likely serving his final term, Romney sees a coming void for an elder statesman in Washington who can take on Trump with unfettered earnestness and without significant political consequence. Carrying overwhelming popularity in a place where he still basks in “favorite…Read More