Mitt Romney booed and called a traitor at Utah GOP convention

The most astonishing thing about this video to me is how lacking in self-awareness Mitt Romney is. He really seemed to think he would be universally cheered by Utah Republicans after voting twice to impeach a Republican president.

Romney’s point that Trump’s personal behavior is often worth condemning is certainly true, but what Mitt Romney fails to realize is 1)by historical standards, there is nothing unusual about Trump’s often negative personal behavior and 2)Romney’s failure to equally criticize Antifa and the progressive left make him seem like a rube who just got off the turnip truck. Mitt Romney sees himself as a hero (and of course the establishment sees him that way), but many Utah Republicans and others see him as filled with spite and jealousy for a man who won the presidency when Mitt Romney could not.

Romney mouths pieties about uniting the Utah Republican party, but in reality his actions indicate he wants to be cheered by the left, the Democrats and establishment Republicans while directing nothing but vitriol at Republicans who want to reject the establishment. Romney is the one causing division.

By contrast, Mike Lee, the senior senator from Utah, is nothing but class. He often criticized Trump’s behavior while doing it in a way that did not bring attention to himself. Mike Lee votes like a conservative and represents the will of Utah voters. Mike Lee shows how to unify Republicans — Mitt Romney has only succeeded in embarrassing himself. He will go down as one of the most feckless and self-serving Utah politicians ever. And members of the Utah GOP are beginning to see this.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

22 thoughts on “Mitt Romney booed and called a traitor at Utah GOP convention

  1. Not sure what Mitt expected? Latter-day Saint Republicans in Utah liked Trump by and large, they felt betrayed by Romeny for his votes. He is a very perplexing man to say the least.

  2. I agree wit you Geoff, and not only Brother Mike Lee, but Senators Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn (to name just two) are also class acts. Calling out the Biden Administration for its extreme positions and actions–and inaction–dictated by the so-called “woke” left. Thanks for nothing, Mitt. Very disappointing.

    PS. His running for the US Senate for Utah is looking more and more like Hillary running for Senate in New York. Pick a state where you are pretty sure to win, with plans to do something bigger later. But Mitt Romney ran for the Senate AFTER his 2012 defeat. Very few people have a political career after losing a presidential election (in recent US history; Nixon is the exception). What was he thinking? Governor of Utah? Righteous President of the United States saving the US Constitution just in time for the Second Coming, anointed slayer of the spirit of contention? Maybe he is thinking that. Nobody is perfect, Trump isn’t, and he ruffled feathers and offended people. He also impressed many people in private and touched millions of lives for good in very concrete ways. His comments have always been heavily edited by CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets. The left is at war with many of our LDS beliefs, culturally and legislatively. War calls for warriors, not “Peace for our time” naiveté.

  3. I think Senator Romney is an honorable man. There are Republicans in Utah and across the country who hope for courtesy, charity, and calm, and it seems he represents them — at least, I hope there is room for them in the Republican Party. The race for his Senate seat in 2024 will be interesting.

  4. JI, I am honestly perplexed by the claim that Mitt Romney’s behavior is “courteous” or “charitable.”

    Let’s say you run for student council president as a junior in high school and then lose. And then let’s say the next year this guy you really dislike runs and wins. You think this guy you dislike is a real loser, crass, boorish, etc. But for some reason the other students like him.

    Do you think it is really “courteous” or “charitable” to spend your entire senior year at high school criticizing the guy who won, no matter what you think of him? Wouldn’t it be courteous and charitable to just concentrate on the guy’s positives or at the very least say nothing bad at all?

    This is why I say that Mitt Romney has no self-awareness. He has no idea how he comes across to normal people. I see nothing courteous or charitable or calm about his behavior when it comes to Trump.

  5. I thought that it was interesting that when Romney ran for president and when he answered Russia to the question about which nation was the biggest foreign policy threat, he was mocked by the Democrats about how the 80’s wanted their foreign policy back.

    Then when Trump won, the Democrats were all about the Russians and they are the greatest threat to our Democracy. I thought it was fittingly ironic.

    When Romney ran, that was the first time since ’92 that I had voted for a Republican candidate for President. I have never voted for a Democratic candidate. Many friends told me in 2016 that my voting third party was just another vote for Hillary. Apparently it was not. And I felt that I had actually voted for the best available candidate by voting third party. (Only if the third party votes continue to increase will we ever get significant change in the major parties. And no, I am not old enough to remember when Republicans were a third party.)

    Anyway, I do think that Romney is an honorable person and truly tries to do good. But I have to agree with Geoff that he is very lacking in self-awareness. And how he presents his message comes across poorly. It appears that he surrounds himself with a cadre that tells him what they think will gain him more mainstream popularity. But in reality he is very out of touch. But, that is also a problem with perception for many overall and a result of the impact of distortions pushed by social media. I think that there was a recent post along those lines…

    He is a good manager. Bain Capital and the Olympics show that. But politics is a different business, unfortunately.

  6. Romney, I think, grew up in a Republican Party that prides itself on taking a cool-headed, ideological, aspirationally-virtuous, logic-based approach; in contrast to Democrats who seemed to act primarily out of passion and were happy to throw away the rule book whenever it didn’t work for them. In the minds of many, Trump represents a force that is teaching the GOP to join the Democrats in acting with its heart rather than its head, telling patently obvious lies, disregarding (in reflection of the Dems’ practice of manipulating) inconvenient data, and seeking to burn down (in reflection of the Dems’ practice of infiltrating) any institution or agency or process that couldn’t be permanently and reliably co-opted for their own benefit. There’s a strong argument to be made that each of these practices chisel away at the foundation of a free democratic republic, and while Trump certainly didn’t create these trends—he has effectively taken the most powerful institution that was pushing back against these problematic behaviors (the GOP) and not only neutered it, but turned it into an active part of the problem.

    I believe Romney is fundamentally right to want to bring the GOP back to its traditional moorings; and I don’t think the GOP has much standing to challenge the Democrats on their own destructive behavior until it gets its own house in order. But no one likes to be lectured to (especially at that painful moment when, in their heart of hearts, they are beginning to see that they have been wrong all along). In style and tone, Romney has unfortunately become a Carter when we needed a Reagan.

  7. Mitt Romney still has great potential but like it has been said he is overly critical of those are on his side. I wonder if we are to pray for our leaders if he did so once for President Trump? I doubt it as a truly pious man would pray for their enemies whereas Romney took to underhanded criticism and insults on a secondary social media account. The fact he does not think we will remember it shows a lack of trust/understanding in his constituents.

  8. JimD, I think some of your points about how Trump damaged the Republican brand are spot-on. To name one example, the GOP has basically given up on fiscal sanity on a national level, and Trump is partly to blame for that. I think the point you may be missing is that Romney is the last person who should be delivering that message. Because he lost in 2012, it makes him seem small and petty and jealous (like the guy who lost the race for student council president criticizing the guy who won). The left never had any respect for Romney, but they use him as an example of “see, the sane Republicans think most of the party is crazy,” and conservatives, who never really trusted Romney, just see him as a self-serving flip-flopper. Romney sees himself as a hero for criticizing Trump — most people either see him as a rube or a jealous loser. Romney should have found somebody else to deliver his message.

  9. Geoff, I agree the optics are sub-optimal. On the other hand—if not him, then who? The party has been, and is being, effectively purged of those who fail to make proper obeisance to Trump; even in the wake of his recent defeat. Due to the electoral calendar and his remaining base of support in Utah Romney is, at least in the short term, extraordinarily free amongst elected Republicans to speak his mind. Less-influential Utahns who stood against Trump (McMullin, for instance) are falsely accused of being Romney puppets anyways, and Romney’s attempts to participate in civic discourse anonymously (Pierre Delicto, anyone?) are hardly regarded as his finest moments.

    As far as how the Democrats are using Romney’s rhetoric—even a stopped watch is right twice a day. The unfortunate fact is that much of the Republican Party *is* crazy at the moment; and if we want the Dems (and the rest of the country) to quit noticing it, then maybe we should quit trying to cannibalize a statistically reliable Republican senate vote and focus our efforts on . . . not . . . being . . . crazy. 🙂

  10. One thing I don’t understand is how these were Romney’s comments when Trump endorsed his presidential bid in 2012.

    “Romney responded by praising Trump for “an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs” and for being “one of the few who has stood up to say China is cheating” in international trade.”

    And yet when Trump was running in 2016, this became Romney’s tune at his infamous speech at the University of Utah.

    “Romney used the address, a targeted critique of Donald Trump, to declare that the candidate’s promises were “worthless”, describe him as a “fraud”, and claim that “he’s playing the American public for suckers: he gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”

    I am very curious what happened in between 2012-2016 to cause that shift because he seemed very happy to accept Trump’s endorsement for him in 2012 – which Trump very graciously gave to Romney.

    “It’s my honor, real honor, to endorse Mitt Romney,” Trump said, with Romney and his wife standing nearby. Calling Romney “tough” and “smart,” Trump said, “he’s not going to continue to allow bad things to happen to this country.”

  11. JimD above made the following comments.

    “The unfortunate fact is that much of the Republican Party *is* crazy at the moment; and if we want the Dems (and the rest of the country) to quit noticing it, then maybe we should quit trying to cannibalize a statistically reliable Republican senate vote and focus our efforts on . . . not . . . being . . . crazy. ”

    Just so we are clear on what is crazy and not crazy (and sometimes super-necessary) in the Republican party:

    1)Out of control government spending. CRAZY, reckless and stupid. And Trump and congressional Republicans are partly responsible and should be ashamed. Trump should have vetoed spending bills, and Republicans never should have voted for increases in federal govt spending.

    2)Questioning Nov. 2020 election results. NOT CRAZY, and in fact super-necessary. There still has been no convincing explanation given for many election irregularities in Nov. 2020, and for the good of the Republic, these explanations should be aired out.

    3)Questioning the role of Big Tech and various other groups censoring and silencing Republican, libertarian and conservative voices in the last year. NOT CRAZY and in fact super-necessary.

    4)Ugly rhetoric continuing to spew from Trump and many other Republicans. I would not call this crazy, but it is ugly, and I personally don’t like it, and it needs to end. Ron Paul has shown us how principled conservatives should act. We pursue truth and principle without personal attacks. Trump has ruined public discourse. Republicans should reject this behavior.

    5)Pushing back against wokeness, critical race theory and cancel culture. NOT CRAZY and super-necessary.

    6)Continuing to assure the integrity of elections. Yes, everybody should have an ID to vote and there should be severe limits on early voting and voting by mail. NOT CRAZY and super-necessary.

    7)Republicans trying to oust warmongers like Liz Cheney from positions of authority after they voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment. NOT CRAZY and super-necessary. Liz Cheney is a cancer on the Republican party and should never have been elected in the first place, but the people in Wyoming chose her because of the long history of the Cheney family in Wyoming politics. She definitely should not be in any position of authority in the Republican party and should find another political party to represent (which she is likely to do in the 2024 election). She is completely bought and sold by defense contractors and has no principles. Good riddance.

    I would imagine many people would disagree with my take on this, but this is my blog post, and these are my opinions. 🙂

    To understand my constant reference to the phrase “super-necessary,” I would refer you to the MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal who said after knocking out Ben Askren and then following up with continuing shots to his head that it was “super-necessary.” Ben Askren is doing fine now, although he embarrassed himself as a boxer, but that is another story.

  12. Regardless of personal views of the correctness of Senator Romney’s political actions, booing has no part in civil discourse. The delegates are not teenagers at a football game, they are adults considering serious political issues and candidates. I am ashamed that my party has become so contentious and has lost the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. If you don’t like a candidate’s positions, don’t nominate him, or, alternatively, run against him or her, or don’t vote for them. To all those who booed, I would say, “Grow up and treat your position as a delegate with the seriousness it deserves.” If you were the delegate from my precinct, I would not vote for you again.

  13. Larry Stay, I think that is a decent point, but I am honestly unsure if I agree with it. On the one hand, I am a polite person, and I honestly don’t think I have ever booed anybody for anything. I am a martial arts fan, and there are all kinds of MMA fighters who actively want you to hate them because they earn more money that way, and I just can’t bring myself to boo them. So, I can’t imagine that if I were a Republican delegate in Utah that I would personally have booed Mitt Romney because I have never done anything like that before. But on the other hand, have you ever watched a debate in the House of Commons in the UK? They boo each other all the time and have vigorous, full-throated debates regarding political issues, and yet nobody seems to get upset about that. I think there may be room for booing people in politics, especially people you disagree with politically. My personal opinion is that this action may be necessary for Mitt Romney to finally understand that people strongly disagree with him on this issue. He has surrounded himself with so many yes men that he has no idea what normal people in Utah believe. So, I can see both sides of the argument on this one.

  14. The House of Commons has been doing that for hundreds of years, it is part of their tradition. It has a different context from booing in a political forum in the US, particularly a party convention. Context matters. Booing in the US is considered ugly, not just an exclamation point in political discourse.

  15. I love question time. The research, the huge books of notes, the ability to think on one’s feet and respond immediately (and generally fact-based), all dripping with wit and sarcasm. All without a teleprompt!

    I miss John Bercow shouting (or whispering) “Order”.

  16. Kristen said,

    “I am very curious what happened in between 2012-2016 to cause that shift because he seemed very happy to accept Trump’s endorsement for him in 2012 – which Trump very graciously gave to Romney.”

    What happened between 2012-16 is that Trump ran for president, causing all of us (including Mitt Romney) to take a closer look at him than we might have previously done. Before 2015 I only knew of him because of The Apprentice (which I never watched, because I hardly watch any TV shows), but once he started campaigning it didn’t take me long at all to decide he wasn’t the kind of candidate I could vote for.

  17. Eric, nice try, but no. Here is the record:

    Mitt Romney sought Trump’s endorsement in 2012, and bragged about it when he got an endorsement. Then Mitt came out against Trump in 2016, and then went begging for a Cabinet position in 2017, then sought Trump’s endorsement when he ran for the Senate in 2018 (which Trump graciously gave), and then repudiated Trump in 2019 and ultimately voted for impeachment in 2020 and 2021. No reasonable person can look at this record and see a consistent policy of integrity on Mitt’s part.

  18. Geoff –

    I heartily agree with all your points except 2), and maybe 7).

    —I can’t possibly claim to have investigated every single claim of misconduct that has been made, but the Trump camp has been caught making overstatements/demonstrable misrepresentations of enough incidents, that I frankly think their credibility is shot.

    —Regarding Cheney: your complaints may be valid, but the GOP has historically been chummy with defense contractors and supported an interventionist foreign policy; so this doesn’t seem to really be an issue of who is or isn’t a principled Republican. You and I have been talking about “optics” and the fact is that things really only reached a boiling point after she committed the cardinal sin of getting caught on camera being nice to Biden. The “optics” here are that the litmus test is less a function of ideology, principle, and/or voting records; and more a function of rewarding and punishing people depending on whose personality cults they have embraced (or failed to reject with sufficient bile).

  19. JimD, regarding 2: yes, the Trump camp completely mishandled the post-election aftermath, and the whole Giuliani/Powell clown show really WAS crazy. But that does not change the fact that there really were dozens of possible violations, many of which have been admitted, that should be investigated for the good of the Republic and faith in elections. Recent polls show that 70 percent of Republicans believe the election was stolen, even in April 2021. There should be some kind of Warren Commission that looks into the allegations, and if the result is that nothing nefarious happened, then that result should be spread far and wide and perhaps the 70 percent will go down to a manageable 20 or 30 percent, and we can have more civil conversations. But that will not happen without some kind of investigation, which, curiously, the Dems don’t want.

    Regarding 7: I am going to have to disagree with you on the history of the GOP and interventionism. Until 2002, the GOP was known as the party that ended wars and avoided foreign confrontations. WWI — started by a Democrat, the Republicans returned things to normalcy. Korean War — started by a Democrat, ended by a Republican. Vietnam — started by a Democrat, ended by a Republican. Reagan went into Lebanon and then left with his tail between his legs. The Republicans opposed Clinton’s adventurism in the Balkans. And then Bush and Cheney came along and substantially changed the nature of the Republican party into a pro-war party with Iraq and Afghanistan and Yemen and on and on. So it was the neocon takeover of the Republican party that was the anomaly, and Liz Cheney is right in the center of that. This is why Trump could be generally anti-foreign war and still be supported by 98-plus percent of Republicans. Republicans in their hearts want to do business and make money and create jobs, not get involved in expensive wars. But Liz Cheney wants endless war everywhere, so she is out of step with the Republican party and should go join Bill Kristol and Evan McMullin in the sore loser caucus. You are correct that most people do not think this deeply about Liz Cheney — they mostly dislike her because she voted to impeach Trump and had nice things to say about Biden. But the reason she did these things is that she hates the fact that Trump returned the Republican party to its generally anti-war roots, or at least tried to. Liz Cheney is pure evil, and the sooner the Republicans get rid of her, the better.

  20. Maybe irrelevant but fwiw… having been to a delegate at conventions (pre-Trump)…

    Voting for candidates and issues is serious business and generally speaking the delegates at convention are the most well-read and informed representatives in the community. That’s their job. Politics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea…but some are passionate. That’s why, in theory, you ask your neighbor to attend convention and take your vote with him.

    But make no mistake, convention isn’t a church meeting. It’s an interactive pep-rally. Booing and cheering are the audience means of feedback to the speeches and reports to the delegates. There are articles each convention reporting which issues and speakers received criticism (booing) or applause (cheering).
    Romney isn’t the first to ever be booed or called out. It certainly isn’t a unique Trump effect on the party, as has been accused. But it made great national headlines and increased division, which I assume was the point.
    Of note: At this same convention, Gov. Cox was both booed and cheered in the same speech. As I say, interactive (and immediate) feedback to those who represent the party to the delegates and voters.

  21. NotThatMeg, thanks for that hands-on report. That makes sense. Politics is not a garden party, not should it be.

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