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Unique: Mitt Romney Says Trump Is “Such a Whack Job”

Contained in the Hive host Brian Stelter explores Mitt Romney’s path from Republican standard-bearer to celebration pariah with creator McKay Coppins, who interviewed Romney dozens of instances for Romney: A Reckoning. Coppins, an Atlantic employees author, mentioned Romney’s choice to unburden himself after the January 6 assault, the senator’s personal complicity within the GOP’s Trumpian trajectory (alongside together with his unvarnished ideas on the previous president), and the fragility of American democracy.

One of many greatest revelations to me in my conversations with Romney was simply how necessary the specter of political violence was to the psychology of elected Republicans immediately,” mentioned Coppins, who recalled Romney telling him “story after story about Republican members of Congress, Republican senators, who at varied factors wished to vote for impeachment—vote to convict Trump or vote to question Trump—and determined to not, not as a result of they thought he was harmless, however as a result of they have been afraid for his or her household’s security. They have been afraid of what Trump supporters would possibly do to them or to their households.” That “raises a extremely uncomfortable query,” Coppins mentioned, which is “how lengthy can the American venture final if elected officers from one of many main events are making their political choices based mostly on worry of bodily violence from their constituents?”

Coppins mentioned Romney has been grappling with what complicity he, and others within the celebration, have with Trump’s political rise. “He was trying again on the moments in his pursuit of the presidency that he type of flirted with the extra excessive parts of his celebration,” Coppins mentioned. “I feel he realizes now that the error he made, and the error that a whole lot of the Republican institution made, was considering that they may principally harness the power of the far proper with out succumbing to it.” Romney, Coppins mentioned, has been reflecting on “all these little compromises he made that didn’t seem to be an enormous deal on the time,” reminiscent of accepting Trump’s endorsement in 2012. “He needs he didn’t do it,” Coppins mentioned. “And I feel that that’s emblematic of a whole lot of these these small moral compromises that he and a whole lot of his celebration leaders made not realizing the form of Pandora’s field they have been opening.”

Trump, predictably, lashed out at Romney in response to particulars surfacing from Coppins’s e-book, calling the Utah senator “a complete loser that solely a mom might love” and bragging how he “compelled this Left Leaning RINO out of politics.” Coppins mentioned, “I despatched that assertion to Mitt and maintain on, I wish to, I’ll simply pull up the textual content. He wrote again, ‘Ha, ha, ha. He’s such a whack job.’ So Mitt form of loved Trump’s response.” 

The dialog additionally turned to why Romney, at 76, determined to talk so extensively, and candidly, to a journalist, together with offering his personal journals for the e-book venture. “Once I first approached him, it was only a couple months after January 6. I keep in mind our first assembly was in his Senate hideaway, which is that this little cramped windowless room that the senators get close to the chamber within the Capitol constructing. And there was nonetheless barbed wire fence across the constructing as a result of the riots had simply occurred. And I feel, actually, his preliminary choice to cooperate with this e-book was simply born of, like, excessive frustration and disappointment with the leaders of his celebration and worry for the nation,” mentioned Coppins, including, “I feel he considered this e-book as a warning.”