OPINION: Romney Is Still Struggling To Figure Out The President Isn’t Pastor In Chief

REUTERS/Mike Segar

Paris Dennard Contributor
Font Size:

Mitt Romney is a professional politician. He lost in 1994 when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts; he won governor of the state in 2002; lost the GOP nomination for president in 2008; won the GOP nomination in 2012, but lost the presidency. He ran for U.S. Senate again in 2018, this time from Utah, and won.

Looking at his career, you’d think he would understand how to be gracious in defeat. But for whatever reason, there is an obvious bitterness and possible jealousy of Donald J. Trump, a fellow wealthy businessman who ran for public office just once and became the 45th president of the United States of America.

In a Jan. 1 op-ed, Romney attacked what he calls the “public character” of President Trump, a man whose endorsement he proudly accepted in 2018. “His conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” Romney wrote.

Trump hasn’t risen to the mantle of the office? Let’s talk about just a few examples of his public conduct as president over the past two years. His presidency is worth celebrating: it has led to record low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and women, and two conservative justices on the Supreme Court. The president used his diplomatic skills and deal-making experience to hold a historic summit with the head of North Korea and make strides toward peace, negotiations and progress in the Korean peninsula. He endorsed sound candidates in 2018, leading to many GOP victories that could easily have been defeats. And he pushed the Senate to support the bipartisan, historic First Step Act.

Nor can we ignore the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate; the creation of Opportunity Zones; historic deregulation; substantial tax relief, job growth, and economic expansion; historic trade deals with Mexico and Canada; improved relations with China; progress in the opioid crisis; and investments in historically black colleges and universities. President Trump has led the fight against the scourge of human trafficking; helped the United States become a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years; moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; championed religious freedom; and championed placing women in senior-level positions in the White House, federal agencies, the Cabinet, his campaign and at the Republican National Committee.

I campaigned and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 because I believed he could do the job as a former CEO. He has led a distinguished life. In any other election, with any other nominee and any other president, my fellow Republicans would have done what we always do — support the nominee and work for, not against, the president of our own party.

Admittedly, it has taken the White House longer to adjust to things in great measure because many working in the White House are new to politics and government. There is nothing wrong with that. In many ways, the fresh eyes and private-sector experience that people such as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have brought to the table have been transformative.

For the “never Trump” establishment, pride and ego get in the way of supporting the president. It is not enough for Trump to deliver on policy and national security — he must also be our pastor in chief. Unfortunately, the only perfect person to ever walk the Earth was Jesus Christ. He is never going to be on the ballot. No president has been or will ever be perfect or even close to perfect, Democrat or Republican.

Listening to Mitt Romney, it’s almost as if the concept of personal responsibility is no longer a basic Republican or conservative value. We must now have a president who teaches personal character and values. This is silly. The problem with role models is that they are generally still human. Humans make mistakes, change their minds and fall short. We all do. If we held Romney to the same standard, we might have expected that he would never run for office again after losing the presidency the first time.

Romney also cited a 2016 Pew Research Center poll finding 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, the number had fallen to 16 percent.

Why does Romney care so much about what those living outside America think? We are not the United Nations. We are the United States of America. American citizens vote for president of the United States. It wasn’t the citizens of Germany, Sweden or France. Their opinion has only changed, in part, due to the bias of the fake news.

The rest of us are glad we have a leader who boldly puts America first. President Trump does not make policy decisions based on polls conducted in other countries. If he did, we would continue acting as a “blank check” for the globe, serving the world as a fighting force and job exporter. Thankfully, the world respects us again, and we have an excellent secretary of State who is doing amazing things and forming alliances on the president’s behalf.

“The world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace,” Romney wrote. That statement is true. Thankfully we have American leadership in President Trump. That is exactly what the “America first” agenda is all about.

This is a new year. I hope Romney will rise to occasion, move forward, and work with President Trump. I hope he listens to what the people of his new home state of Utah want him to do and fight for, since 45 percent of the state voted for President Trump and his agenda to make America great again.

Paris Dennard (@ParisDennard) is a member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows. He worked previously as director of black outreach in the George W. Bush White House.

 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.