Mitt Romney is done with politics. The former governor of Massachusetts, presidential candidate in 2012, and current Senator from Utah has announced that he will not be seeking a second term.
In his announcement, he called for a new generation of leadership and chided both Biden and Trump for seeking to cling onto their power, saying both “should follow his lead and bow out to pave the way for younger candidates, arguing that neither was effectively leading his party to confront the “critical challenges” the nation faces, according to The New York Times.
My message to Utahns on my Senate reelection plan: pic.twitter.com/kgbsfIxMeR
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 13, 2023
“At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Mr. Romney, 76, said in a video statement. “They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”
Romney, 76, said his decision not to run again was heavily influenced by his belief that a second term, which would take him into his 80s, probably would be less productive and less satisfying than the current term has been. He blamed that both on the disarray he sees among House Republicans and on his own lack of confidence in the leadership of President Biden and Trump, reports The Washington Post.
“It’s very difficult for the House to operate, from what I can tell,” he said in a lengthy telephone interview previewing his formal announcement, “and two, and perhaps more importantly, we’re probably going to have either Trump or Biden as our next president. And Biden is unable to lead on important matters and Trump is unwilling to lead on important matters.”
Romney, elected to the Senate in 2018 with 63 percent of the vote, said he will serve out the duration of his term, which ends in January 2025. His decision not to seek reelection next year is likely to mark the end of a political career that has been notable, especially in the Trump era, for independence and a willingness to stand up against the base of his party that has shifted dramatically in Trump’s direction in the decade since Romney was its standard-bearer.
From the time Trump first became a candidate until today, Romney has been among his most outspoken critics, and nothing about his departure is expected to change that. In the weeks before Trump’s 2017 inauguration, Romney publicly acquiesced, expressing hope for the president-elect’s leadership while he was under consideration to be secretary of state. But his turnabout was short-lived.
In the video, Mr. Romney argued that neither Biden nor Trump want to fix the major problems facing the United States, including climate change, authoritarian threats from Russia and China and mounting debt.
“Both men refuse to address entitlements even though they represent two-thirds of federal spending,” he said. “Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax, and President Biden offers feel-good solutions that will make no difference to the global climate. On China, President Biden underinvests in the military, and President Trump underinvests in our alliances.”
The Times notes that “Utah is a solidly Republican state, so Mr. Romney’s departure is highly unlikely to affect the balance of power on Capitol Hill. He had recently told people that he planned to make a decision about seeking re-election by the end of the year and that he was weighing whether he could still play any productive role in Congress.
His decision to abandon a career in the Senate followed similar decisions from many moderate House Republicans last year. In the 2022 midterm elections, four House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump declined to run for re-election.”
In 2012 Mitt Romney lost a competitive race for the White House to then-incumbent Barack Obama. He made waves by accepting the endorsement of then television star Donald Trump, who he later voted to impeach as president.