On Sunday, U.S. Mitt Romney, (R-Utah) said on CNN’s State of the Union the Republican Party has changed. He said most of the 2024 GOP presidential contenders are pivoting toward emulating President Donald Trump. “The party that I knew is one that was very concerned about Russia and [Vladimir] Putin and Kim Jong Un and North Korea, and we pushed back aggressively against them,” Romney said. “We were a party concerned about balancing the budget.” 

 Romney, a persistent critic of President Trump, was the lone Republican in the Senate to vote to convict the president on impeachment charges in January. “I think, ultimately, the Republican Party will return to the roots that have been formed over — well, the century,” he said. “So, we’ll get back at some point and, hopefully, people will recognize we need to take a different course than the one we are on right now.” Four comments:

 First, Romney is right about the budget. There was a time when smaller budgets, fiscal responsibility and smaller government were a cornerstone to what Republicans believed. Gradually Republicans- at all levels- embraced a tax and spend philosophy. The election of President Trump didn’t start government’s out-of-control spending, but during his four-year term, the national debt increased by 36% to $26 trillion. While he fulfilled many of his 2016 election promises, Trump was not successful in reducing government’s footprint. If America doesn’t get government spending and the national debt under control, our country is doomed.

 Second, Romney is wrong about foreign policy. Trump’s ‘America first,’ foreign policy was successful. It kept the US out of foreign wars and the nation building that Trump’s globalist predecessors (including Joe Biden) embraced. Before Trump took office, North Korea was on the verge of invading South Korea. China was taking advantage of the US in trade. The Middle East was a hotbed with US troops in three different countries. While unorthodox, Trump’s style of foreign diplomacy was effective, because he insisted the US not be treated as a doormat or an ATM machine by foreign governments. 

 Third, Romney is right about the GOP needing to return to their roots. Elected Republicans at all levels have drifted from the Party’s founding principles of personal responsibility and limited government. But Mitt Romney never embraced those principles or roots. For Romney to question the direction of the Republican Party is laughable. He has consistently been on the opposite side of most traditional Republican platform positions.

 Fourth, Romney is right about candidates emulating Trump. His style of campaigning and governing inspires and energizes voters. No political leader in the history of the country has been able to fire people up like Trump. His politically incorrect-no clutch- full speed ahead style is fruitful. He says what most Americans are thinking. That is why candidates are copying his tactics. Good or bad, Trump changed the political arena forever. 

 Mitt Romney has little or no creditability with rank-and-file Republicans. He has been an unreliable vote for Republican policies and frequently votes with the Democrats. It takes a lot of chutzpah to lecture the Party on principle and character when you haven’t exhibited either.

Steve Fair is chairman of the 4th district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by phone at (580) 252-6284 or by email at okgop@aol.com.

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