Romney folds: Gives up on pursuit of Trump alternative

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Mitt Romney has ruled out a third-party presidential bid and has stopped recruiting others to attempt their own, close advisers said Wednesday. The news suggests Romney has thrown in the towel on the #NeverTrump movement and resigned himself to the Republican Party’s nomination of Donald Trump, as much as he detests it.

That doesn’t mean Romney is happy about Trump or is ready to endorse his candidacy though. He still hopes a candidate will emerge to stand against Trump, his allies say.

“He’s very distraught about [Trump],” a Romney adviser told Yahoo News, which first reported the story. “He thinks Trump is this vulgar, dangerous, principle-less, value-less opportunist — putting it mildly.”

Romney has been lobbied by other Never Trumpers, such as Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, to run for president again, but Romney says he isn’t interested in a third, likely doomed attempt at the White House. Romney himself has lobbied both Sen. Ben Sasse and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to serve as a third-party champion, but both have declined. Other potential candidates, like Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Tom Coburn, have also refused. The result is that, while there are many top Republicans dissatisfied with a Trump nomination, nobody has been willing to step up to the plate for what may prove to be an expensive, exhausting political suicide mission.

According to CNN, a major issue is that Never Trump mostly consists of party activists, writers, and politicians, rather than the campaign operatives needed to direct a serious national candidacy.

“You need someone to say, ‘this is how I’d make this real.’ The odds remain low,” one Never Trumper official told CNN.

In the case of Romney himself, another concern was the fear that if he ran, he would simply be responsible for handing Hillary Clinton the presidency.

And so, Romney has apparently settled into a state of dissatisfied inaction.

“He thinks someone should run. That’s his role. That’s the beginning and end of it,” the Romney adviser told Yahoo. “Is he organizing it? No. But he has talked to people who have thought about it.”

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