SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney says he’s confident he would be able to work with President Donald Trump if he’s elected to the U.S. Senate, despite their public disputes in the past.
On the heels of Saturday’s state Republican convention, Romney spoke Monday about his candidacy to replace longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, his upcoming primary with state Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, and even his relationship with President Donald Trump.
“I think people know me across the state as someone who calls ’em like he see ’em,” Romney told KSL Newsradio’s Doug Wright. “Frankly, I think that’s why the president endorsed me. … I think some people were surprised he endorsed my campaign for Senate, but I think he respects people who say what they believe, and I certainly do.”
Romney was one of Trump’s toughest critics during the 2016 presidential primary, calling him a fraud and a phony in a speech at the University of Utah. The two have traded verbal jabs over the years, he said, but when it comes to policy, they’re often on the same side.
“We’ve gone back and forth from time to time,” Romney said. “But on policy, I’m pretty much on the same page with the president. I certainly support tax reduction; I support the deregulation efforts he’s put in place; I support his move on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase; and so policy, we can work together well. And if we have any disagreements, we’ll point them out clearly and obviously, and try to convince the other of right point of view.”
Romney finished second to Kennedy at Saturday’s state GOP convention, in part due to his decision to gather signatures as an alternate path to the primary ballot. Delegates pushed their support behind those who opted only to seek the nomination through Utah’s unique caucus and convention system.
“We expected to have a primary,” Romney said. “I was pleased that I got the support I did because obviously the convention folks are not wild about the fact that I’d like to have a process that includes signature-gathering, which of course is why I gathered signatures.”
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, also gathered signatures to ensure a spot on the primary ballot. Curtis faces a primary challenge from former state Rep. Chris Herrod in a rematch of their race to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Herrod was the delegates’ choice, but Curtis comfortably the public vote.
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