Anybody who cares about the Mitt Romney campaign against Trump (and vice versa) should listen to this podcast by Dave Rubin. Rubin interviewed Richard Grenell, who is the current ambassador to Germany. (Grenell was just named Trump’s new director of national intelligence on Wednesday). Grenell was, for a short time, one of the leading foreign policy advisers to Mitt Romney during his 2012 campaign.
Grenell, who is openly gay, was forced out of the Romney campaign specifically because he was openly gay and had written an op-ed explaining why conservatives should support gay marriage. Grenell, using very diplomatic language, accuses Mitt of not defending him from social conservatives who wanted Grenell off of Romney’s presidential campaign, specifically because of his sexuality. In effect, Grenell says Mitt was too wishy-washy to defend Grenell, and Grenell was forced out of the campaign.
Four years later, Grenell says he found a candidate who didn’t care about the fact that he was gay, ie, Donald Trump. Grenell also admired Trump’s America First foreign policy. He joined Trump’s campaign and is now has one of the highest profile foreign policy posts in the U.S. diplomatic service. Grenell points out quite clearly that Trump’s foreign policy has been hugely successful, and says that Trump in three years has achieved considerably more than Obama or Bush ever achieved in Europe.
So, for those of you suffering from cognitive dissonance, let me reiterate a few points:
–Romney’s campaign was anti-gay and Trump’s was not, and Romney did nothing to defend the gay guy, whereas Trump had no problem with the gay guy and even promoted him to a high profile position.
–Trump’s foreign policy has been hugely successful in a relatively short amount of time.
To be fair, Grenell is just one voice out there, and of course he has an incentive to claim success. He is, after all, part of Trump’s foreign policy team. But if you listen to the podcast (and please do before you comment on this post), Grenell lists many examples of Trump’s successes in Europe. I found his arguments convincing.
I mention this because, frankly, many of the recent posts I have seen regarding the whole Trump and Romney brouhaha have been childish. What I mean by this is that these articles turn Trump and/or Romney into cartoon characters. Trump is either heroic or really, really bad, like Nazi bad. And Romney is either a sinister schemer or Captain Moroni waving that title of liberty.
Friends, life is never that simple. People are much more complex than this. If you listen to CNN and MSNBC, Trump cannot even tie his shoes correctly and walks around insulting every person around him and of course is secretly planning a Hitler-like takeover of the government. And if you listen to many of Trump’s defenders, the president is playing 3D chess and is outsmarting the entire world.
Here is the reality: the truth is somewhere in between. Trump, like all presidents before him and certainly like all presidents after him, has done some good things and some bad things. The economy is doing well (in the short term — in the long term we are in for some pain). Trump has cut taxes and decreased regulations. His education and energy policies are, in my opinion, excellent. He has put forward many good federal judges. Some of his foreign policy has been very good. But of course he is out-doing Obama on the national debt, and, personally, I find much of his rhetoric to be very ugly. So, as I say, some good, some bad.
Meanwhile, anybody who thinks Mitt Romney has acted heroically is way off base. Mitt sought Trump’s endorsement in 2012, then 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, and then repudiated Trump in 2019 and ultimately voted for impeachment in 2020. No reasonable person can look at this record and see a consistent policy of integrity. Mitt has acted like a politician which is, after all, what he is. But I don’t think Romney is evil — I think he is misguided and perhaps miffed that a vulgar loud mouth like Trump has become president while Romney could not win in two presidential campaigns. Nobody can read Romney’s mind, but it is worth pointing out that a very large number of people believe he is motivated by jealousy. Mitt Romney’s favorability ratings nationwide have fallen from 43 percent in October 2012 to 18 percent in a recent poll. A lot of people don’t see him acting honorably.
The recent posts by Romney defenders trying to argue that he is acting like Captain Moroni are simply not convincing to anybody except the small, insular group of people who already love Mitt Romney. And the fact that most of these people seem to be suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome makes their arguments even less rational.
I really miss the pre-Trump days in one sense: it was easier to have reasonable conversations in those days. No president is perfect, and no president is perfectly evil. President Obama (one of my least favorite presidents) nevertheless did some good things. So did President Bush and President Clinton, and on and on. And of course all of these presidents also did bad things.
Here is my suggestion to the anti-Trump/Romney hero worship crowd: please listen to the podcast I linked at the beginning of this post. If you listen with real intent to understand, it really will give you another perspective that may blow your mind a bit. And then watch this short video by John Stossel. Stossel is very tough on Trump and very critical. But he criticizes in a fair way, and even pro-Trump viewers I know are forced to admit that Stossel’s criticisms are on target. This, my friends, is how you convince people.