What Mitt Romney is really trying to do to Donald Trump right now

The Trump White House is chaotic on a good day – not that good days happen all that often in the Trump White House. The administration thought they could stave off the one scandal that finally turned Republicans against him by claiming they successfully called a “ceasefire” where Turkey will allow the remaining Kurds to withdraw from northern Syria.

Mike Pence, who appears to be the mastermind behind it, was hoping that this reckless and desperate stunt would not only quiet Trump’s right-leaning critics, but somehow make Trump into the hero who was able to make peace with the legendary dealmaking skills his supporters all brag about – even though he knew about the invasion well in advance and only yesterday said it wasn’t his problem. It didn’t quite go according to Pence’s plan. So desperate was this ceasefire charade that even Mitt Romney saw through it and called it for exactly what it was.

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory,” said Romney in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, just hours after the announcement was made. Rather than address the legitimacy of the ceasefire, Romney pointed out the ramifications of Trump’s actions up to this point, which will be difficult to reverse. He actually addressed the issue in a way that made him seem more presidential than he did at any point in his troubled 2012 campaign – addressing the fact that America abandoned an ally, particularly one that bravely fought against ISIS, which could dim any future progress in the region for the U.S.

It’s not that Romney’s suddenly growing a spine, necessarily – but the way he’s behaved over the last three years shows a pattern. He’s been known to speak out against Trump and his white nationalist friends when Trump appears to be at his weakest – on the campaign trail in 2016, and again after the Charlottesville rally. He’s also been known to pander to Trump’s base when Trump has the Republicans under his thumb, like when he was president-elect and during the 2018 midterms when Romney promised he was to the right of Trump on immigration. It appears that Romney is in fact eyeing the Republican presidential nomination yet again, whether he runs in 2020 or 2024 – and when he does, he’ll have the perfect record for distancing himself from Donald Trump.

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