Even earlier than Senator Mitt Romney of Utah introduced he wouldn’t search re-election subsequent 12 months, he made no secret of his disapproval of the route of the Republican Get together 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 offers his unvarnished opinion of a few of his fellow Republicans.
In interviews with the guide’s writer, McKay Coppins, Mr. Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, affords frank value determinations which can be uncommon in Washington.
Such tell-all, insider books usually foster a apply often known as the “Washington learn,” by which boldfaced names instantly flip by way of the index to seek out out what damaging assessments could come to hang-out them.
Here’s a collection of what Mr. Romney’s friends and colleagues, previous and current, may discover.
Mr. Romney’s advisers in 2012 urged that he contemplate Chris Christie, then the governor of New Jersey, as a operating mate, based on the guide.
However Mr. Romney had reservations about Mr. Christie’s “prima donna tendencies,” and anxious that the governor was not “as much as the bodily calls for” of being on the ticket and was affected by “barely buried” scandals, Mr. Coppin 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 electronic mail. He added: “You will need to withdraw that assist 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.
Mr. Romney known as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas “scary” and “a demagogue” in his journal, and in an electronic mail assessing political candidates in 2016, he mentioned Mr. Cruz was “scary.”
He was additionally bluntly crucial 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 all the 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 very best shot at difficult Mr. Trump for the nomination.
Mr. Romney’s views on the governor have been decidedly combined, based on the guide.
“Mr. Romney needed to love the governor,” Mr. Coppins writes. The senator mentioned that it was a “no-brainer” to assist Mr. DeSantis if it meant conserving Mr. Trump out of the White Home.
But Mr. Romney appeared to have reservations. He anxious 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 degree.
“There’s simply no heat in any respect,” Mr. Romney mentioned. He added that when Mr. DeSantis posed for images with Iowa voters, “he seems like he’s received a toothache.”
Even his appraisal of Mr. DeSantis’s constructive 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 route 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 considering, based on the guide, that Mr. Gingrich “got here throughout as a smug know-it-all; smarmy and too happy with himself and never a fantastic 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 megalomanic, critically 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 referring to 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 personal 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 conduct during the last 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 notably 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 prepared to smile when he noticed absurdities, extra prepared 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 notice that we should 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 character” 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 through 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 electronic 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.”