Feb 14, 2018, 12:21 PM ET

In a possible 'Senator Romney,' some GOPers see an elder statesman and potential Trump foil

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Former Massachusetts Governor and one-time Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is getting ready to announce he will run for the U.S. Senate in Utah, according to senior advisers familiar with the matter.

"He’s probably going to run for the Senate,” Ron Kaufman, a senior adviser to Romney, told ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics Podcast" Wednesday, he added "He really does believe in service to the country."

Romney first re-ignited speculation that he indeed is ready to make another foray into national politics with a tweet at the beginning of February.

What makes Romney's expected announcement and desire to occupy a seat in the Senate particularly interesting is his relationship with the man who currently occupies the Oval Office.

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat,” Romney said in March referring to then-candidate Donald Trump.

The comments were some of the harshest during a bitter 2016 presidential campaign. Now with Romney potentially occupying a seat Congress’ upper chamber, those tensions between him and the president are sure to resurface.

PHOTO: Mitt Romney speaks to members of the media after a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, Nov. 19, 2016.Mike Segar/Reuters
Mitt Romney speaks to members of the media after a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, Nov. 19, 2016.

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."

Former aides to the former GOP presidential standard-bearer don’t expect the bitterness to subside immediately if Romney becomes a senator.

“There will be tension there I’m sure,” Kevin Madden, a senior adviser and spokesman for Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, told ABC News of Romney’s relationship with Trump should he succeed Hatch.

“I think there are areas where he can be helpful to the White House and there are always areas where he’s going to disagree and he’s going to be very clear and public about those disagreements,” Madden added.

Other former Romney aides do not see his potential Senate campaign as a vehicle to criticize President Trump.

“I do not anticipate that Gov. Romney’s candidacy will be a protest against the president,” Ryan Williams, a former Romney spokesman, told ABC News, “He’s not running to take on President Trump. He’s running to get results. But, at the same time, if he sees something undermining America’s ideas or its institutions, I think he’ll speak out.”

PHOTO: Mitt Romney speaks after a dinner meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Nov. 29, 2016.Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Mitt Romney speaks after a dinner meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Nov. 29, 2016.

For those GOP senators that have already taken up the mantle and spoken out when they believe President Trump has overstepped the boundaries of American political decorum, a Senator Romney who is willing to continue that push back is welcome.

“We desperately need more independent voices around here. And he’d provide a good one. A loud one,” Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., himself an at times vehement Trump critic, told ABC News this week. Flake also said he met with Romney "a couple of weeks ago."

At 72 years old, Romney would be the oldest freshman senator popularly elected to a full term should he win in November. Romney would undoubtedly become one of the most well-known members of the Senate upon his arrival, and speculation over which coveted committee assignments he might seek is already well underway.

“I think he’s very interested in foreign affairs and on ensuring that we maintain global security and that America’s standing in the world is respected,” Williams said.

Madden also posited that Romney has a desire to make his voice heard not only on domestic policy.

“I think he does feel he has something to offer on some of the bigger challenges the country is facing. Mainly on the national security and foreign policy front,” Madden said, “So I think he’ll look to quickly establish his voice there.”

PHOTO: Sen. Bob Corker speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 13, 2018.Susan Walsh/AP
Sen. Bob Corker speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 13, 2018.

The sitting chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced last year that he would not seek re-election in 2018, and even as reports continue to circulate that he may rethink he decision, Romney could still be eyeing a position on the high-profile committee.

“I know he served as governor and ran in a presidential race and did a lot of work to understand foreign policy issues,” Corker told ABC News this week, “I think he's going to be a strong voice on multiple issues, personally.”

When asked about whether or not Romney is eyeing a position on the committee he chairs, Corker, referencing his potentially impending retirement, said that decision might be out of his hands.

“Well, I may not be here,” Corker said.

News - In a possible 'Senator Romney,' some GOPers see an elder statesman and potential Trump foil

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CComments

  • tprop

    Trump is so much more entertaining.
    In comparison, Romney is smarter than a box of hair.
    He's a predictable, reasoned, responsible -- adult.
    Who would want that!? 😁

  • Nick

    Can't we get a candidate on either side that's fiscally conservative while being socially liberal?

    I think we call that a centrist, or a moderate.

  • Thomas

    "“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat,” Romney said in March referring to then-candidate Donald Trump."

    Maybe I was wrong about Romney.

  • Leo Marvin

    Living in Utah I can tell you that it's not a matter of if Romney will be elected, it is only a matter of how much he will win by. Just to give you an idea of how bad the Utah Democratic Party is, when Mike Lee was up for re-election in 2016, the Dems ran a transgendered store clerk named Misty Snow. In a state that is 60% LDS (Mormon) that candidacy didn't stand a chance. Romney isn't perfect, but it is getting really hard to defend some of you moronic Trump supporters, especially when you knock the guy's religion.

  • sjc_1

    I would like to see him senator from Utah.

  • Loue Whose

    The US definitely needs more super rich, clueless Senators

  • Vonnie

    I hope by "elder" they mean more mature and wise. He's actually younger than Trump

  • justmeanddog

    Utah, isn't there a place called Mountain Meadows there?

  • Nick

    This guy is a lifetime venture capitalist, which means he buys companies, dismantles them, lays off the work force and sells the pieces left over for profit.

    He is scum of the highest order....and he's Mormon.

  • Dave Ruth

    What makes Mitt so special is that he believes its OK to belong to a Cult that has 0, yes 0, yes 0 men of Color in the top 3 tiers in the USA. Isnt that precious !!

  • DuelingDogmas

    Yes Please! More old white guys is exactly the solution to our problems.

  • Bud Simpson

    "Foil" really? Last time Romney wasn't much more than a casual disturbance, and one that Trump later humiliated like a petulant child, but I guess this is the time where the media is saturated with hyperbole.

  • 24 Hour Man

    Gotta love that pic of Romney with Trump...looks like he HATES to be even seen with that DOLT

  • Concerned American

    If McCain, Flake, and Corker are gone, then Romney's addition won't hurt as much.

    Of course, if out of control immigration isn't stopped, it's all a moot point anyways, as America will soon have a government ran by a dominant,single leftist party. ala western Europe.

  • Ira Cohen

    Great news. Mitt is the old GOP, conservative but not a damn nut job like so many. Utah is always going to vote GOP, so no Dem flip here, but Romney will be a bit stick in nasty orange man's derriere!! Can't wait!

  • john hurley

    Romney should admit to being a closet liberal and gay transsexual.

  • tom952

    Before you vote for a devout Mormon you need to read about Joseph Smith to understand what the candidate thinks is (or could be) real. Smith was a liar and a swindler who seduced a number of married women and was ultimately killed for it. His story about the magic disappearing gold plates is incredible, and it is incredible that anyone could think was a messenger from God the creator of the universe.

  • QuestionAuth

    This country is more in need of Deep State leaders than ever, at this point.

  • landsart

    Anyone is a Senior Statesman compared to Trump

  • SirRoland

    Well, he certainly has the youth vote electrified with excitement.

  • Jack25

    Are you saying he would have more courage than the rest of the GOP? I doubt it.

  • dustyrivers ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I'm not a Romney fan but Utah is going to elect a Republican to fill the seat. With that said, I'd rather see Romney in the Senate than some fool who's going to kiss Trump ring.

  • Alex Ross

    The enemy of my enemy...

  • tom952

    Romney thinks Corporations are people, and that the main problem with the economy in 2012 was that millions of Americans just don't want to work. At Bain Capital he got rich by skimming profits from the successful deals executed by others in the firm; he never did a deal by himself that made money. He never in his life had to work to make a living. He is too privileged and arrogant to understand what it is like for working Americans.

  • Connie

    As a Massachusetts resident, I can truthfully say it is a mixed bag with Romney. He did some good, and not so good. He is more middle of the road than many, if not most, republicans. I did not vote for him, and would not have voted for him had he run again. But I kind of hope he wins the senate in Utah. I like what he said about Trump, and I hope he continues to fight him.

  • yeah that

    I'd like to see someone run who knows how much rent & food prices are. These millionaires billionaires have no idea how most American workers live paycheck to paycheck.