Mitt Romney tells FSU audience that American politics should be collegial like the Senate

The Workmans IOP Strengthening American Democracy Keynote With Senator Mitt Romney 0001
The Senator and former Presidential candidate doesn't like today's political theater.

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney spoke Monday night to the Florida State University’s nonpartisan Institute of American Politics on the subject of strengthening American democracy.

He perceives some fissures, at least outside the Senate, where collegiality rules in his reckoning. And to those political pressures of the outside world, he offers two words of advice.

“Enough already,” Romney said during roughly 30 minutes of remarks as part of the Strengthening American Democracy speaker series.

Romney, the sole Republican who voted to convict Trump during the Senate’s impeachment trial, described the tone change since his failed 2012 campaign for the White House, even if he didn’t name names.

“There are a lot of people who are concerned with the growing anger and crude nature of comments that are leveled back and forth between politicians these days and between people,” Romney said. “And frankly, I think a lot of that starts at the very top.”

“We’ve had leaders in our nation who have called on our better angels,” he continued, “to use Abraham Lincoln‘s line. And then we’ve had others who through their words and actions have tried to draw on the darker side of human nature.”

“As long as we have people trying to make political hay out of drawing on the most base elements of humanity, we’re going to continue to be highly divided,” Romney predicted. “I don’t know where that ends. But at some point, you’re going to see leaders who stand up and say ‘enough already.'”

Not everyone gives in to partisan theatrics, the Utah Senator noted. In the U.S. Senate, he said, he and his colleagues “get along,” including spending time at each others’ houses regardless of party identification.

“People are very cordial, very friendly, collaborative and cooperative. Republicans and Democrats. We go to dinner at each other’s homes. We spend time with each other. The cameras go on and a few people are pretty caustic and pretty extreme, and that gets a lot of excitement from the base,” Romney lamented.

He doesn’t seem confident that the current President is going to be able to change the tone in Washington.

“I think (Joe) Biden is a good person,” Romney said. “I don’t think he has the presence, yet, to make that kind of change.”

Whether a President with plummeting poll numbers can find that presence remains to be seen.

Former Republican Party of Florida Chair and adjunct faculty member Al Cardenas moderated the event, which also saw Romney discuss the threat of China and pressures on the economy.

Romney did not discuss Gov. Ron DeSantis or any other politicians, including Florida’s two senators, beyond offering the aforementioned broad critiques of the political discourse.

Romney, who was introduced by new FSU President Richard McCullough, joked that he expected his predecessor, John Thrasher, to introduce him.

“There are a lot of changes at FSU,” Romney quipped.

Romney’s speech elicited a strident reaction, meanwhile, from one state legislator looking to head to Washington next year.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


5 comments

  • Charles

    November 1, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Mitts a disappointing Republican who places more value on tone then substance. I think it justifies his self perceived superiority.
    Do Romney’s opinions influence others? I suspect not.

    • Evan

      November 2, 2021 at 8:04 am

      Romney is a choad, just like Alex.

  • just sayin

    November 2, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Yeah, Romney, they were so friendly and cordial to you that the current President literally said you wanted to put black people in chains. GTFOH

  • Alex

    November 2, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    The Filibuster is anti-democracy.

    That’s why Republicans love it.

  • Ocean Joe

    November 2, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    While Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict in Trump’s first impeachment trial, 7 Republicans voted to convict in the second impeachment trial. Apparently the extortion laid out in the first trial did not bother them as much as inciting a riot in order to prevent counting the electoral votes did. Trump should have been arrested on the spot and forced to pay for damages to the capitol as well as claims for wrongful death of people who died during the mayhem, ‘fine people on both sides,’ led to their death by his desperate, conniving rhetoric.

Comments are closed.


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