As the president escalates his Twitter attacks on Mitt Romney over the Utah Senator’s criticism of Trump’s “wrong and appalling” attempts to get foreign countries to give him dirt on his political enemies, prominent members of the #resistance have been jumping to his defense.
One of the most vocal and passionate responses came from NeverTrump Republican and CNN contributor Ana Navarro, who took to Twitter to uphold Mitt’s honor while trashing the president for his failed marriages and his awful hair.
You’ll never have Romney’s class.
You’ll never have Romney’s patriotism.
You’ll never have Romney’s integrity.
You’ll never have Romney’s long, happy marriage, or self-made kids who lead full lives, not profiteering from their dad’s position.
You’ll never have Romney’s hair. https://t.co/Cis742nydJ
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) October 5, 2019
She wasn’t the only one. “Mitt is a winner in so many ways that you will never be!” tweeted MSNBC host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough. Trump critic and D.C. lawyer George Conway said that Mitt “should treat this tweet as a badge of honor.” Former Vermont governor Howard Dean said that he was glad Mitt was “showing some spine.” Even Democratic think tank Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden tweeted “Thank you” and railed against other progressives who were not ready to hand a medal to Romney for his courage.
People, if we crap on the Republicans who do a good thing, the message that is sent is that crossing Trump doesn’t get you anything but scorn. We need to create a permission structure for movement against Trump. Support the steps they take. Scorning them is counterproductive https://t.co/hb458YMufI
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) October 4, 2019
All these expressions of support for Romney is a great opportunity to remind everyone that just because a Republican did the bare minimum and issued a tweet opposing the president, you do not “gotta hand it to them.”
Let’s remember that as a Senator, he is one of the few people with the ability to actually impede the rolling out of Trump’s white supremacist agenda — and up to this point, he’s voted with Trump 80% of the time. He’s made just one prominent no vote out of the 152 unqualified right-wing extremist judges that Trump and Mitch McConnell are machine-gunning through the Senate. He’s a Republican who said it was “moronic” for Democrats to try to get Trump’s tax returns.
Things Mitt Romney could do to stop Trump but hasn’t:
• Leave the GOP
• Support impeachment proceedings
• Say he will vote for the Dem nominee
• Run a third-party prez bid to split the vote on the right
• Band w/3 other GOP senators to block Trump nominees https://t.co/9GQu9aFRU0
— David Nir (@DavidNir) October 5, 2019
There are all sorts of things he could do to actually help slow down Trump but he doesn’t do them, because the reality is at the end of the day, he approves of nearly everything Trump is doing in principle, even if he may not be a fan of how he’s doing it.
We need to recognize that, to varying degrees, this extends to all the #NeverTrump Republicans like Ana Navarro and George Conway and ugh, Rick Wilson. All the #resistance Twitter checkmark conservative heroes wouldn’t have any qualms about the child detention centers, or the budget-busting tax handouts for the rich, or the rollback of every regulation in the book, or the systematic discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, or the mass slaughter of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the man doing them was a Mike Pence-type figure who managed to uphold the “dignity” of the office and didn’t commit their crimes quite so publicly.
Trump is a monstrous figure whose removal from office needs to be our number one priority. But this is still Mitt freaking Romney, the awful private equity ghoul who laughed and sneered at everyday Americans who need healthcare, housing, and food to put on their tables with the rest of his rich cronies. The guy who strapped a dog to the roof of his car and had “binders of women” and has devoted his entire political career to preserving the oligarchy’s control over our nation. We hated this guy in 2012, and you should still hate him now.
A few critical statements don’t absolve conservatives from a lifetime of supporting appalling ideas, policies, and people, and we shouldn’t forgive them for it.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.