WASHINGTON – One of Donald Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, believes the former president would win the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 if he decides to go for it.
“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination,” Romney said Tuesday at the DealBook DC Policy Project.
Trump, who has said it is too early to decide on a 2024 race, is scheduled to give his first post-presidential speech Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Trump is expected to attack Republicans who supported impeachment, and Romney has a unique role within that group. The 2012 Republican presidential nominee – he lost to incumbent President Barack Obama – voted to convict Trump on impeachment charges twice.
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In early 2020, Romney was the only Republican lawmaker to vote to convict Trump on allegations he pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate then-candidate Joe Biden and his son. Earlier this month, Romney was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict Trump on charges he incited the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol designed to overturn Biden’s election.
The Senate acquitted him on both occasions.
In the days before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Romney criticized Trump for making evidence-free claims of voter fraud to explain his loss to Biden. Supporters of Trump, traveling to Washington for demonstrations in support of the president, verbally harassed Romney for not supporting the election protests.
At the Tuesday forum, Romney told Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times that he would not personally vote for Trump in three years, but many Republicans would.
“I look at the polls,” he said, “and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide.”
Added Romney: “He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party.”