Don’t Feel Sorry For Mitt Romney

Trump supporters don’t like Mitt Romney, and they’re not afraid to let him know it.

On his flight to Washington, D.C. yesterday, Romney was met with chants from Trump supporters letting him know exactly how they feel about him. A few hours earlier, video of a Trump supporter accosting Romney in the airport made the rounds on Twitter.

The supporter asked Romney why he doesn’t support Trump, why he doesn’t represent conservative causes, and why he won’t join the Republicans who’ve pledged to challenge Joe Biden’s election win. Romney, for his part, stayed calm and politely rebutted before walking away as the person recording called him a “joke.” The natural reaction from non-Trump supporters was disgust—just look at how MAGA people treat someone in their own party that they have no use for. Some people praised Romney’s poise, while other Twitter users actually apologized to him.

Romney is a sympathetic figure for liberals because he’s the only Republican in Congress who’s occasionally opposed Trump, most notably voting with Democrats to impeach the president last February. Trump supporters have openly expressed their disdain for Romney since, but they’re mostly the same voters he courted while running for Senate in 2019 as well as his presidential run in 2012. Since he never won the presidency, Romney may not have had as much influence in radicalizing the Republican Party as someone like George W. Bush. But that hasn’t stopped him from using a watered down version of the same racialized and xenophobic rhetoric Trump harnessed for his own gain. And for all his supposed anti-Trump bonafides, he’s voted with the president’s positions almost 80 percent of the time.

Confronting Romney in an airport is the natural progression of confrontational politics that began during the Trump administration. Some may think it’s a bridge too far. But being subjected to an angry constituent doesn’t make Romney automatically worthy of sympathy, no matter how often he’s done the bare minimum in repudiating Trumpism and the GOP’s tactics to challenge the election. He’s facing the wrath of the same rabble he courted for personal gain.