On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence (who, as VP, is also president of the Senate) swore in former 2012 GOP presidential candidate and now Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
“This is an honor,” Pence said before administering the oath of office.
Comity between a Republican senator and a Republican vice president would not normally be notable, but Romney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post slamming President Donald Trump on New Year’s Day, just two days before Pence swore him in.
Trump responded with a fiery tweet, declaring, “I won big, and he didn’t.”
Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2019
Pence has not yet addressed the bad blood between his boss and the new senator. If any Republican were to primary Trump in 2020, Romney would have the best chance, and it seems reasonable to consider the WaPo article a shot across the bow, testing the waters for a potential challenge.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, former Republican presidential nominee, and a man who has sought and won Trump’s endorsement twice, is indeed a political force and a moral public servant. Pence rightly considered swearing him in an “honor.” It may have behooved him, however, to urge Romney not to consider a primary challenge against President Trump, or at least to respond to the WaPo op-ed.
After the swearing-in, Pence tweeted that it was a “great honor” to “participate in swearing-in ceremonies for members of the US Senate.” He made no mention of Romney in particular.
A great honor to participate in swearing-in ceremonies for members of the US Senate. @POTUS and I are looking forward to meeting tomorrow with Republican and Democrat leadership to continue our discussions on border security.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 3, 2019
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.