Republican Sen. Mitt Romney does not support former President Donald Trump, nor did the Utah lawmaker vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020.
But Romney predicted Tuesday that Trump would secure the 2024 Republican Party presidential nomination should he run for the White House again.
What did Romney say?
During an interview with New York Times-DealBook, Romney admitted that Trump's enduring influence over the GOP means the former president holds the best odds of winning another presidential nomination.
"I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination," Romney said.
"I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide," he added.
On Donald Trump, Senator Mitt Romney at the DealBook DC Policy Project said: "I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or… https://t.co/GvG8FZVoLS— DealBook (@DealBook) 1614125663.0
Romney, himself a former GOP presidential nominee, qualified his prediction by noting that "a lot can happen between now and 2024."
Not only has Trump's political strength not weakened, but neither has Romney's opposition to Trump. Romney further explained that if Trump is the GOP nominee for the third consecutive presidential contest, he will maintain his fierce opposition toward Trump.
"I would not be voting for President Trump again. I haven't voted for him in the past. And I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent," Romney explained.
Will Trump run again?
While the likelihood of Trump running again is high, the former president has not stated definitively whether he will pursue his former office in 2024.
"It's too early to say, but I see a lot of great polls out there," Trump said last week.
However, Axios reported that Trump is planning to claim "total control" over the Republican Party during his first post-presidential speech this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Sources said Trump will present himself as the "presumptive 2024 nominee" in a "show of force."
Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Axios, "Trump effectively is the Republican Party. The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you're attacking the Republican grassroots."
Still, there is significant disagreement about the future of the Republican Party.
Republicans like Romney, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the no. 3 House Republican, and perhaps even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believe the GOP should put Trump in the rearview mirror, recognizing the Republican Party lost control of the House, White House, and Senate under Trump's watch.
Other Republicans disagree.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), for example, believes Trump should be part of the GOP strategy to regain control in Washington.