Utah Senator Mitt Romney said he is “pretty sure” former president Donald Trump would clinch the Republican Party’s nomination for leader of the free world if he ran again in 2024.
The former Massachusetts governor made the comment in an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times at DealBook DC Policy Project on Tuesday after he was asked what the future of the GOP looks like.
Romney said he was “sure” that Trump would continue to play a role in the Republican Party — which is currently boiling with tension among its different factions — and that he is also “pretty sure” Trump would “win the nomination” if he ran on the GOP ticket three years from now.
“I think he’d win the nomination if he runs,” Romney said. “I mean, a lot can happen between now and 2024.”
Though Romney noted that he is “not great at predicting” the future, his belief that Trump would be successful, even after facing a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6 at the US Capitol, was based on what he has observed in the polls.
Of the names currently being floated as potential contenders in 2024 out of the polls he has seen, Romney said one name clearly dominates.
“If you put President Trump in there, among Republicans, he wins in a landslide,” Romney said.
A poll released earlier this week from Suffolk University and USA Today, which surveyed 1,000 Trump voters, reached a similar conclusion: 76 percent are in favor of supporting his nomination for president and 85 percent are open to voting for him in the general election.
Even more striking was that 46 percent of those surveyed asserted they would leave the Republican Party and pledge their allegiance to Trump if he decided to create a new party.
Echoing a similar comment made by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham — who asserted that the “Trump movement is alive and well” and that Trump is “the most potent force” within the GOP — Romney said Trump has “by far the largest voice and a big impact” on the Republican Party.
The Utah senator also commented on the ongoing internal struggle within the Republican Party — namely the divide between those who abide by Trump’s brand of politics and those, including himself, who do not.
“There’s a populist movement on the right in our country and on the left,” Romney said. “And those movements I don’t believe are going to be going away anytime soon.”
He added: “Although I think over time policies that endure and that really help the American family will be more successful. So I remain, if you will, a more traditional conservative than some of the populist rhetoric within my party.”
Romney, who has vocally criticized Trump and some of his colleagues loyal to the former president in the past, said he would “not be voting” for Trump when asked if he would campaign against him. He was only one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during his historic second impeachment trial.
“I haven’t voted for him in the past,” Romney said. “I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent.”
Although Trump has not definitively stated whether he plans on another election bid in the future, he has said that there are “a lot of great polls out there.”
“I’m the only guy that gets impeached and my numbers go up,” Trump said in a recent interview with Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly, who tried asking him about his political ambitions. “We have tremendous support. I won’t say yet, but I have tremendous support, and I’m looking at poll numbers that are through the roof.”
The former president has, however, made it clear that he is intent on remaining a force within the Republican Party — first writing a scathing letter admonishing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for condemning him in the wake of his impeachment trial and more recently, endorsing South Carolina’s GOP chairman Drew McKissick for a third term.