The Republicans who could have been rivals of Mitt Romney in the 2016 GOP primaries reacted with praise to the news on Friday that the former Massachusetts governor will not run for the White House again.
“Mitt Romney has been a leader in our party for many years,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Friday. “There are few people who have worked harder to elect Republicans across the country than he has.”
“Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,” he said. “Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.”
Romney told supporters on a conference call on Friday that he has decided not to for president again in 2016.“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks, first reported by radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has been an outspoken critic of Romney running again for president, said Friday: “My family and I wish Mitt and Ann the best.”
“We have gotten to know them over the last few years and deeply respect their family and Mitt’s service,” Paul said. “I hope to work together with him to grow our party and lead our country forward.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another potential 2016 candidate, said in a statement Friday that “over the past two years, there hasn’t been a day when I didn’t think that Mitt Romney would have been a better president than Barack Obama.”
“Over the years, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Mitt and campaigning for him, was grateful for his support in my Senate race, and I know what a difficult decision this must be given his love of our country,” Rubio said. “He certainly earned the right to consider running, so I deeply respect his decision to give the next generation a chance to lead. I wish him, Ann and his entire family the best and hope he will continue to serve our country and his community as he’s done throughout his life.”