Never-Trumpers and Democrats desperately wishing for Donald Trump to go away are unlikely to get their wish as Trump re-enters the political world by way of this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
One of Trump’s staunchest GOP opponents, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was forced to admit on Tuesday that if Trump runs for president in 2024, he’ll likely win the GOP nomination.
Forced out in the open
Romney, the only Republican Senator that voted to convict Trump of the charges in both failed impeachments, has long made it clear that he wants Trump to be expelled from the party.
Romney’s spluttering about Trump appears to only have served to increase Trump’s popularity and decreased his own.
Despite the crowing about Trump’s second impeachment being the final nail in the coffin of Trump’s political career in the days following his acquittal, many of Trump’s enemies have had to quietly come to terms with the reality that the former president remains wildly popular.
“He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party,” Romney confessed during a New York Times interview. “I don’t know if he’s planning to run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he would win the nomination.”
“A lot can happen between now and 2024,” Romney noted, but said that recent polls showing Trump coming out on top of a number of hypothetical primary matchups make it likely that “he wins in a landslide.”
Trump takes control
Donald Trump is expected to come roaring back on the scene over the weekend as a key speaker at CPAC in Florida.
Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich noted on Sunday that the reality within the GOP is that Donald Trump’s “reach” is still astronomical and that no one in the GOP can “can fight him” — Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) learned that one the hard way.
“[W]hat’s very striking is that President Trump still has such enormous reach in the party that nobody can fight him,” said Gingrich.”I mean, you can complain about him. You can criticize him. But McConnell can’t possibly fight Trump. He doesn’t have a big enough base.
“And it’s also a reminder that there is sort of an establishment insider party that sits around at cocktail parties in Washington,” he continued, “and then there’s this huge country outside of Washington. And that country in 2015, by about two to one, did not like the Republican leadership in the Congress, and that was the forerunner of us ending up with Trump as the presidential nominee.”
No matter how desperately RINOs like Romney and McConnell want Trump gone, its increasingly clear that he’s here to stay — and GOP voters could not be more delighted.