Romney, 76, laid out a number of reasons behind his decision to the Post. He said he felt it was time for a new generation to “step up” and “shape the world they’re going to live in,” and his second term would take him into his early 80s.
Romney, who was the only Republican senator to twice vote to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trials, also cited the growing disarray of American politics—saying he wouldn’t feel confident serving under either Trump or President Joe Biden.
“We’re probably going to have either Trump or Biden as our next president,” he told the Post, “and Biden is unable to lead on important matters and Trump is unwilling to lead on important matters.”
Romney was comfortably elected to the Senate in 2018 with 63 percent of the vote and has maintained favorable ratings among his Utah constituents. The senator said he still plans to serve out the the remainder of his current term, which expires in Jan. 2025.
The senator has long been been a thorn in the side of Trump and the GOP, being one of the first party members to call out Trump for his litany of lies about the 2020 election, unhinged rants, and more.
Feuding between Romney and Trump began months before Trump shocked Hillary Clinton on election night in 2016. In a blistering speech that aired on national television, Romney called the future president a “phony” and a “fraud.”
“If we Republicans chose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” he said. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
Romney won the Republican nomination in 2012 but lost the presidential election to Barack Obama. He told the Post that the Republican party that nominated him back then no longer exists—acknowledging his traditional conservative wing of the party is now “very, very small” compared to Trump’s rabid MAGA base.
The senator hasn’t lost all hope for his lifelong party, however. He told the Post, “If it can change in the direction of a populist, it can change back in the direction of my wing of the Republican Party.”