In a Republican Party now dominated by Trump, most mainstream GOP leaders have struggled to stay neutral amid the president's controversies.
Mitt Romney was expected to announce his run for Senate in Utah Thursday, however he announced Wednesday he will not make the announcement out of respect for the victims of the deadly school shooting.
Romney, 70, has been a popular figure in Utah, if not a resident, for decades.
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Now with Romney potentially occupying a seat Congress' upper chamber, those tensions between him and the president are sure to resurface.
Expected to be a heavy favorite to win Hatch's seat, Romney is planning a campaign with a laser-focus on Utah and will suggest that Washington has much to learn from the state the former MA governor now calls home, said those with knowledge of his plans. While Romney's loss to President Barack Obama in 2012 wasn't almost as lopsided as Reagan's blowout over Mondale, his loss came as a deep disappointment to the Republican Party and caused a tremendous amount of soul-searching among the party's establishment. He compared Romney with Hillary Clinton, who grew up in IL but successfully ran for a Senate seat in NY in 2000 as a high-profile newcomer.
Trump hit back at Romney at a rally in ME the next day. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who regularly speaks out against the president.
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Romney changed his tune after Trump's election.
While Trump had briefly considered Romney to be his secretary of state, it seems to two men never quite buried the hatchet. Nothing came of the meetings, and the personal chemistry largely returned to its pre-summit days.
Romney was a favorite target for Trump on Twitter during the campaign, where the then-presidential candidate called him a "dope" and a "fool", as well as "one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics". One of the longest-serving senators in USA history, Hatch began floating Romney's name a year ago as his potential successor.
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At 72 years old, Romney would be the oldest freshman senator popularly elected to a full term should he win in November. Will he use the Senate floor as a platform to denounce Trump's assault on the free press, his character assassination of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or his attacks on fellow Republicans whom the president blandishes as disloyal? What will his priorities be?