Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, spoke frankly about former President Donald Trump’s future prospects this week, predicting Trump would be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2024 — if he chooses to run for the nation’s highest office again.
“I don’t delude myself into thinking I have a big swath of the Republican Party,” said Romney in a Wednesday interview. “It’s hard to imagine anything that would derail his support. So if [Trump] wants to become the nominee in ’24, I think he’s very likely to achieve that.”
Romney and Trump have occasionally butted heads through the years, dating back to Trump’s presidential bid in 2016, when the former trashed the latter’s political credentials.
During Trump’s presidency, Romney voted twice to convict in impeachment trial proceedings.
Yet Romney still recognizes the power of Trump’s appeal among Republicans at large.
The same holds true for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who refers to Trump as “the leader of the [GOP] party, that’s clear … If he decides to run, he will be the nominee.”
In 2016, Trump (1,441 total delegates) defeated Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the GOP nomination.
And in 2020, the incumbent Trump hardly had competition among his Republican brethren, accounting for all but one of the 2,500 delegates.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld collected the other GOP delegate.
The Romney and Hawley acknowledgments come on the heels of Trump helping J.D. Vance win the Ohio GOP Senate primary Tuesday night.
It’s another example of the power of a Trump endorsement, considering Vance was seemingly an afterthought candidate in Ohio two months ago.
“When Trump endorsed [Vance, he] was in fourth place. And he rocketed to the front on the shoulders of Trump’s endorsement,” said Cruz, who campaigned for Josh Mandel in Ohio.
“It has been obvious for a long time that he has enormous influence in the party, that Republicans strongly support President Trump, and they care about his leadership.”
According to one report, Trump has a 55-0 record with primary endorsements in this election cycle.
Also in the Ohio primary, Trump-endorsed House candidates Max Miller and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert advanced to the general election amid little drama.
And in the northwest corner of the state, J.R. Majewski, “a Trump fanatic,” according to Politico, known for using paint to transform his lawn into shrines to the former president, posted an upset of two better-funded rivals.
All this occurred just one week after Trump praised Majewski and his landscaping at an Ohio rally for Vance.
“There’s never been an endorsement in American history that has the political punch that President Trump’s endorsement has,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
Similar to Romney, outgoing Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has had a sometimes-awkward relationship with Trump, particularly after rescinding his presidential endorsement of then-candidate Trump in 2016.
However, Portman reiterated after Tuesday’s Ohio primary, “I told you the endorsement was going to matter. And it did. [Trump] has a very high approval rating among Republican primary voters.”
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