Mitt Romney’s op-ed criticizing Donald Trump’s character has created friction within the GOP, with at least one member of the Republican National Committee calling on the party to take urgent action stand behind the president.
“Make no mistake. This was calculated political treachery,” Jevon O.A. Williams wrote to other RNC members Tuesday night in an email that was obtained by HuffPost.
Romney’s op-ed in The Washington Post expresses disappointment that Trump has not appealed to America’s “better angels.” It comes one day before he is to be sworn in as Utah’s new junior senator.
“As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit,” he wrote. “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”
“I couldn’t believe this was coming from our party’s 2012 nominee, who, despite differences in politics, still professes to be a Republican,” wrote Williams in reaction to Romney. “With Republicans like him who needs Democrats.”
Williams declined to comment about the reaction he received to his email.
Romney’s op-ed also created a bit of awkwardness for the chairwoman of the RNC, who also happens to be his niece. Ronna McDaniel decided to nevertheless tweet criticism of her uncle Wednesday morning.
Bruce Ash, a committee member from Arizona who was chairman of the rules committee at the 2016 Republican National Convention, posted a Facebook message of support for McDaniel and Trump on Facebook Wednesday morning.
″[W]hether one approves of his personal temperament or not there is little reason anyone can complain about the results of the Trump presidency so far unless you stand with any of the 32 Democrats lined up to run in 2020,” wrote Ash.
Williams asked other RNC members to join him in supporting a resolution “declaring the RNC’s unanimous and unequivocal endorsement of President Trump for re-nomination” and proclaiming him the presumptive nominee in 2020.
Trump allies within the RNC are already eyeing rule changes that would make it harder for Republicans to run against Trump in 2020. In particular, they want to stop potential challengers from lining up enough delegates to get their name placed in nomination on the floor of the next convention.
Read Williams’ full email below:
From: Jevon O.A. Williams
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2019 10:13 PM
Subject: The junior senator-elect from Utah’s unprecedented rebuke of
President Donald J. Trump
Dear fellow RNC member,
Merry Christmas (yes, it’s still Christmas), happy New Year, and warm
greetings from where many of you probably want to be right now:
Imagine my surprise when I read the junior senator-elect from Utah’s
unprecedented rebuke of President Donald J. Trump in an op-ed on the
pages of The Washington Post that ran before he was even sworn into
office. I couldn’t believe this was coming from our party’s 2012
nominee, who, despite differences in politics, still professes to be a
Republican. With Republicans like him who needs Democrats.
Seriously. I swear that Republicans can be their own worst enemy.
Democrats don’t have to worry about the three-ring circus and civil
war that is engulfing their party’s 2020 nomination campaign because
so-called Republicans are forcing us to spend valuable time, money,
and resources in re-nominating our president.
Make no mistake. This was calculated political treachery. The op-ed,
again before he even assumed office, was published the night of New
Year’s Day. This was done to define the week’s narrative in the
mainstream media and chattering class. It also only serves to
undermine our party and its president by playing into the hands of
House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat Leader Chuck
Schumer as they seek to divide Republicans and distract attention away
from their refusal to protect our borders.
As an immigrant, a combat veteran, a black American, a millennial, and
as a member of the RNC, I wholeheartedly support and endorse President
Trump for re-nomination. That isn’t to say I don’t have my
disappointments. I do. Like many of you, I have been frustrated by the
inability to get Republicans nominated to U.S. attorney, U.S. marshal,
and District Court judgeships. But the record is clear and President
Trump’s policies at home and abroad are getting results by putting the
national interest first and foremost.
My friends, you know what’s going to happen.
Messrs. Romney, Flake, and Kasich will continue chasing their fantasy
of being president, even if that means destroying our party and
denying President Trump re-election.
Look, the political history is clear. No Republican president opposed
for re-nomination has ever won re-election.
Unfortunately, loopholes in the rules governing the 2020 re-nomination
campaign are enabling these so-called Republicans to flirt with the
possibility of contested primaries and caucuses.
While President Trump would win re-nomination it wouldn’t come quick
and it wouldn’t be inexpensive. Any contested re-nomination
campaign—even a forlorn hope—would only help Democrats.
Accordingly, I am asking for your support to take the unprecedented
step of amending the rules to close loopholes in the re-nomination
campaign, including Rule 40. These rules, as I read them and has been
reported in the press, didn’t take into account an incumbent president
running for re-election. Beyond a rules amendment, I also ask for your
support of a resolution declaring the RNC’s unanimous and unequivocal
endorsement of President Trump for re-nomination. This resolution
would also declare him the presumptive nominee in 2020. I intend for
both of these items to be acted upon at the winter meeting later this
month, including, if necessary, by suspending the rules to take up
The so-called Republicans seeking to defeat President Trump have used
our silence to advance their cause.
It’s time to make our voice heard: Our party, be it the RNC or the
grassroots in the 56 states, territories and District of Columbia, is
united behind President Trump.
Jevon O.A. Williams
National Committeeman, Virgin Islands