Jake Tapper Confronts Mitt Romney Over Accepting Trump Endorsements: ‘Was That a Mistake?’
On CNN Wednesday, Jake Tapper interviewed former GOP presidential nominee and current senator-elect Mitt Romney, following the blistering op-ed the latter dropped this week criticizing President Donald Trump. Among several topics, Tapper confronted Romney about his previous acceptance of Trump endorsements.
“You said, in March of 2016– because There was a whole big thing in 2012, kids out there might not remember this, but when you ran for president Donald Trump wanted to endorse you, you wanted him to endorse you, and there was an event in Las Vegas, and you accepted his endorsement,” said Tapper setting up for the question. “And then in March 2016, you wrote in a tweet, ‘If Trump had said four years ago the things he says today about the clan, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would not have accepted his endorsement.'”
“Now, some people point out, okay, he hadn’t said those things, but he was the nation’s leading birther, pushing the lie that Barack Obama, the first African-American president, was born in Africa. Again, a lie. And you accepted his endorsement even though that was his political claim to fame,” he continued, getting to the meat of it. “Was that a mistake?”
“You know, I’m sure I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and–” began Romney.
“Is that one of them?” Tapper pressed.
“I will let the people make the assessment of which things were mistakes and not,” said Romney. “But when the president of the United States, frankly of either party, were to say ‘I’m endorsing your candidacy’, I think you’d say thank you very much.”
Romney said he has “pretty consistently” highlighted his differences with Trump, both during the campaign and during the administration, and said he’d continue to do so.
“I don’t intend to be a daily commentator, to be someone who stops every evening in the hall of the Senate and looks for the nearest camera and says what I think about the President’s tweet or the fault of the day,” he said. “But if there is a matter of great significance, I’ll speak out on that. And sometimes it’s a difficult call.”
Tapper asked, “how do you decide that?
“You make your decision as best as you possibly can. But I know what my principles are, what I think is right for the country,” Romney said. “And I know that right now the country is as divided as I’ve ever seen it. People in many respects are angry and resentful. And they want to see leaders who can unite us and push through those things.”
Elsewhere in the interview, which spanned two segments on The Lead, Romney declined to endorse or to not endorse Trump for 2020.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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