Back in March, Mitt Romney delivered a 15-minute speech pleading with Republicans to join together to nominate someone, anyone who is not Donald Trump — but not him (okay, maybe him). Most people think that effort failed, but on Wednesday, Romney revealed that some are still hoping the tirade will go down as the GOP Establishment’s version of President Whitmore’s speech at the end of Independence Day. “My wife and kids wanted me to run again this time,” the former GOP presidential nominee told John Dickerson at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “I got an email from one of my sons yesterday, saying ‘You gotta get in, Dad. You gotta get in.’”
However, Romney told his family that the answer is still no — and it’s for their own good. “It’s hard on family,” he said. “It’s hard on your spouse, sitting there in debates, just agonizing over what you’re gonna say next. Or what your kids have to go through. Or what your grandkids go through.”
But he admitted the (somewhat self-generated) pleas for a Republican Establishment figure to save America from President Trump still get to him. “The reality is, of course, you think about things like that from time to time,” he said. “[But] I don’t think an independent candidate could win and the idea of running and asking people to come around me with the sole purpose of being a spoiler is not something I could go out in good faith to donors and to workers and to voters and say, ‘Come help me stop this candidate or that candidate.’”
Romney added that he can’t bring himself to vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton, and he hopes Republican voters won’t make a habit of nominating reality-show figures to lead the nation — though, he didn’t sound all that optimistic. “Every democracy commits suicide,” Romney said, invoking John Adams. “There never was a democracy yet where the people didn’t vote themselves into oblivion.”
So, if Republicans are still looking for a candidate who will fight for their freedom — not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution — but from annihilation, maybe Romney really isn’t their man.