Romney Bio Says GOP Senators Laughed At Trump Behind His Back

Romney Bio Says GOP Senators Laughed At Trump Behind His Back

Sen. Mitt Romney

A new biography of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is making waves not just for its revealing tidbits about the private details of the Senate GOP and Romney's life, but also for how prominent Republicans mocked former President Donald Trump behind closed doors.

In one anecdote, author McKay Coppins — a staff writer for The Atlantic shared on NPR's Fresh Air, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blithely referred to then-President Trump in the lead-up to his first impeachment trial in the US Senate as an "idiot" who didn't think before speaking. Romney also recalled a story in which almost the entirety of the Senate GOP laughed at Trump behind his back after he spoke to senators in the aftermath of then-Attorney General Bill Barr's summary of the Mueller report.

"[Trump is] immediately greeted with a standing ovation. The senators - they're kind of treating him like a conquering hero, right? And Trump, as is his wont, launched into some sort of rambling stream-of-consciousness remarks. He talks about the Russia hoax and relitigating the midterm elections. And, you know, he's hitting all of his favorite policy points about China tariffs and border security and, you know, just kind of rambling. And at one point, Trump even said that the GOP would soon become the party of health care," Coppins said. "And Romney kind of looked around the room, saw all the senators nodding dutifully in agreement along with everything that Trump was saying, and then as soon as the president left, the entire Republican caucus burst into laughter" (emphasis added).

Coppins' biography, Romney: A Reckoning, was based not only on interviews with the Utah senator (who announced in September his plans to retire instead of running for another term in 2024), but on journal entries, personal correspondence, and private emails the senator and 2012 Republican presidential nominee kept over the years. The book also includes tidbits about Romney's first impressions of Trump when the two first met.

According to Coppins' account, Romney — who had not yet ventured into politics at the time — went to Mar-a-Lago at Trump's invitation in January of 1995 for business-related reasons. He confided to Coppins that he saw Trump as less of a businessman and more of a "cartoonish celebrity." He added that everything he saw there "confirmed his instincts about Trump."

Coppins said:

"He said that when they first pulled up to Mar-a-Lago, there was a line of servants in white linen, you know, waiting to greet him as though they were - he was, like, a king or a lord or something. And Romney remembered saying - just thinking like, where on earth are we? You know, he said he'd never seen anything like that in America. Later, when Trump gave him a tour of Mar-a-Lago, he kind of was showing off various things in this house, this complex that he had just bought, actually. And he showed him a set of gold colored silverware. And Trump said they didn't know this was here when they sold me the place. And it's worth more than I paid for the house. I'm going to make a fortune. And it's just - it was funny because Romney basically came away from the experience saying, that was everything I wanted out of this. You know, it was weird and memorable and a great story that I'll tell people, and I'll probably never see this guy again."

Coppins' book was published this week and is available in stores and online. Click here to read the full transcript of Coppins' Fresh Air interview.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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