Presidential Campaign

Romney should endorse Clinton

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Unless anti-Trump Republicans succeed in finding a credible alternative candidate for president, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney should prove he means what he says about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and outright endorse Hillary Clinton (D).

{mosads}If the Democratic and Republican parties nominate Clinton and Trump, respectively, and one of those two candidates is destined to become the next president, considering what Romney has said be believes about Trump, how can he not endorse Clinton?

Romney need not show enthusiasm if and when he announces support for Clinton. He can say he disagrees with her on virtually everything. He can say that he has spent much time hoping she never becomes president. He can say it is the hardest and most unpleasant political move he has ever made. But if Romney believes what he says about Donald Trump, he should say that he deeply believes, as a Republican and American, that Trump would make a disastrous president and given the choice between Clinton and Trump, he unequivocally chooses Clinton.

We are witnessing today, in the Republican Party, one of the great moments of hypocrisy in American political history. To the degree that it is true that the GOP is coalescing around Trump, to an equal degree there are long lines of Republicans publicly supporting a candidate they privately believe would be dangerous and potentially destructive as president.

It is painful to watch Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) walk back his once-resounding criticism of Trump, a man whom has described in brutally contemptuous terms. And if a report is true, he may have gone as far as giving Trump a tacit endorsement — the stuff of late night comedy when compared his previous denouncements of Trump.

It is pathetic to witness Gov. Chris Christie (R), whose favorable rating in his home state of New Jersey has fallen to 26 percent, fawn over Trump.

It is ludicrous to watch Republicans in Congress gnash their teeth while they sing the praises of Trump. According to the latest polling summary from RealClearPolitics, Congress’s favorability rating is 12.8 percent. This would put Congress with favorability ratings barely 12 percent higher than Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists.

Do unfavorably viewed congressional Republicans want to put their political fate in the hands of an unfavorably viewed nominee that many of them privately deplore?

Earlier in the campaign, it was hilarious for Senate Democrats to watch Republicans sing the praises of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), when they knew very well that most Senate Republicans find Cruz as welcome as bedbugs.

Romney could provide an invaluable service, to his party and our country, by showing the courage and leadership to publicly state that if the choice is between Clinton and Trump, he has no choice, that he must vote his conscience, and he will vote for Clinton.

By supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, Mitt Romney would be doing something that become rare in American politics. He would be putting patriotism before party, while trying to save his party from the disaster that will ultimately engulf it, sooner or later, one way or the other, if the party of Lincoln becomes the party of Trump.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

Tags 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Lindsey Graham Republican Party Ted Cruz

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