Inside the Beltway: Mitt Romney hands Trump a victory

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It is a long, long way from the 2012 presidential election, when then-GOP hopeful Mitt Romney buoyed up support with his campaign slogan “Believe in America.” These days, approval seems to have dwindled for the Utah lawmaker, who has faced a serious moment of reckoning on his own turf.

“Sen. Mitt Romney was lustily booed by the more than 2,100 Republican delegates who packed into the Maverik Center on Saturday for the party’s state convention,” reported The Salt Lake Tribune in the aftermath.

Lustily booed?

There was “a chorus of catcalls” from a crowd vexed by Mr. Romney’s two votes to impeach former President Donald Trump, despite the fact that a resolution to censure the senator for those votes failed on 798-711 vote, according to the Utah Republican Party.

The senator’s encounter with this hostile, lustily booing audience has greater implications, however. It is an indicator that Mr. Trump “is cementing his grip on the GOP and exacting revenge on those Republicans who supported his impeachment,” writes Politico analyst Tara Palmeri.

Frustration among many Republicans over Rep. Liz Cheney‘s criticisms of Mr. Trump is further evidence — along with the news that Trump-endorsed Susan Wright finished first in a Texas special election for a House seat on Saturday, winning with 19.7% of the vote, with the nearest challenger getting 14%. A runoff will follow in the near future.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney may have set an example for any fellow Republicans who also encounter hostility as the Trump vs. establishment Republicans war continues. Mr. Romney pushed back at the crowd and their displeasure.

“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Mr. Romney shot back at the delegates, defending his vote to impeach Mr. Trump.

“I’m a man who says what he means — and you know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issues,” Mr. Romney told the crowd, which continued to holler.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune account, “accusations that Romney was a ‘traitor’ or ‘communist’ flew from the crowd like so many poison darts. The cacophony of disapproval only ended after outgoing party chair Derek Brown scolded delegates to ‘show respect’ for Romney.”

Mr. Romney, however, insisted he was “an old fashioned Republican” which also drew an angry response.

“You can boo all you like. I’ve been a Republican all of my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012,” Mr. Romney reminded his audience.

A DOUBLE STANDARD GOES INTO EFFECT

President Biden has restricted travel to India due to “extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads,” the ban going into effect on Tuesday.

“The travel ban comes a year after Biden vilified such restrictions as xenophobic when pursued by then-President Donald Trump while the Wuhan virus began to mutate into a global pandemic from China,” writes Tristan Justice, an analyst for The Federalist.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia,” Mr. Biden told a campaign audience on Jan. 31, 2020, the day Mr. Trump announced his travel ban.

“We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering,” Mr. Biden said in a follow-up tweet at the time.

Several more critical tweets were to follow.

Observes Mr. Justice: “Biden now appears to embrace the policies he once vilified, banning travel from India as the coronavirus develops into a humanitarian crisis.”

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has found a permanent place on the public radar with his plainspoken commentary on politics and the American way of life. Here’s one more example.

Fox News prime-time host Laura Ingraham pointed out to Mr. DeSantis that President Biden twice repeated the claim that the U.S. is a “systematically racist” nation during his recent address to Congress.

“Your reaction?” she asked.

“Well, it’s a bunch of horse manure,” Mr. DeSantis replied.

“I mean, give me a break. This country has had more opportunity for more people than any country in the history of the world. And it doesn’t matter where you trace your ancestry from,” he advised.

THEY’RE NOT FORGETTING GEORGIA

Some people still worry about all those businesses in Atlanta, which suffered after Major League Baseball moved its July 13 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver on April 2, over Georgia’s new voting law requiring a photo ID to vote via absentee ballot, among other provisions.

“The move served as a warning to Republicans in other states who are trying to restrict voting, and is likely to put new pressure on other organizations and corporations to consider pulling business out of Georgia,” noted The New York Times in a report at the time.

The Cobb County Travel & Tourism Office has already estimated the loss of revenue for those businesses to be $100 million or more. There’s help and concern out there, though.

GiveSendGo.com, a Christian crowdfunding website, has launched a new fundraising campaign to aid those businesses in Atlanta. Find it at GiveSendGo.com/speakupforgeorgia.

“Georgians didn’t ask for this, but we’re here now in the moment and we have to make the best of the situation,” says site co-founder Jacob Wells, who has encouraged President Biden to advocate for those business — “and appeal to Americans’ sense of grace.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 35% of U.S. adults “strongly disapprove” of how the Biden administration is handling the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border;

70% of Republicans, 37% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

• 14% “somewhat disapprove”; 8% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 17% of Democrats agree.

• 22% overall “somewhat approve” of who the administration is handling the border issue; 10% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 37% of Democrats agree.

• 9% “strongly approve”; 3% of Republicans, 5% of independents and 18% of Democrats agree.

• 20% are “not sure”; 9% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 20% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted April 25-27.

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