DEER VALLEY, UTAH — Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney bluntly predicted here on Thursday evening that President Donald Trump would win reelection in 2020.
Addressing a group of major GOP donors, Romney — who bitterly collided with Trump during the 2016 campaign and implored his party to nominate someone else — also said Trump would easily capture the Republican Party’s 2020 nomination.
He said Trump’s political fortunes would be bolstered by a pair of factors: an improving economy and the likelihood that Democrats would choose an outside-the-mainstream candidate.
“I think President Trump will be re-nominated by my party easily, and I think he’ll be reelected solidly,” Romney said.
“I think that not just because of the strong economy and because people are increasingly seeing rising wages, but I think it’s also true because I think our Democrat friends are likely to nominate someone who is really out of the mainstream of American thought and will make it easier for a president who is presiding over a growing economy,” he added.
Since launching his Utah Senate candidacy earlier this year, Romney has praised some of Trump’s early actions as president while saying he disagrees with the president’s bombastic style.
During a recent interview with NBC News, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and the GOP’s 2012 nominee, said he wouldn’t “point to the president as a role model for my grandkids on the basis of his personal style. He has departed in some cases from the truth, and has attacked in a way that I think is not entirely appropriate.”
After the 2016 race, the relationship between Trump and Romney warmed somewhat, with the president-elect briefly considering Romney to serve as his secretary of state before ultimately picking ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Still, there were signs of strain. Earlier this year, Trump waged an unsuccessful bid to persuade longtime Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection and block Romney.
After Hatch announced that he wouldn’t seek reelection, the president endorsed Romney for the seat.
The remarks came on the opening night of the E2 Summit, an annual Romney-hosted event that draws influential political leaders and donors. This year’s event is expected to draw a number of bold-faced names, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, investor Stephen Schwarzman, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was Romney’s vice-presidential nominee.
Actor and comedian Seth Rogen is expected to speak on brain health.
Romney also offered a bullish assessment of the GOP’s 2018 midterm prospects, arguing that the party would retain control of both chambers of Congress.
“I think that growth and the higher incomes people are seeing means that Republicans will do just fine in November,” he said. “I think we will hold the House, I think we’ll hold the Senate. I know a lot of pundits don’t believe that. I think we will.”
Romney is heavily favored to capture the Utah Senate seat. He faces a June 26 runoff for the GOP nomination against Mike Kennedy, a conservative state representative.
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