Utah Senator Mitt Romney announced on Wednesday that he will not seek a second term in the Senate in 2024. As he discussed his plans for the future, the one-time presidential candidate criticized both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump and called for a “new generation of leaders” to step up.
After touting his list of accomplishments following his election in 2018, Mitt Romney did something few other politicians have been willing to do: he acknowledged his own age. “I’ve spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another, and at the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-eighties,” said Romney, 76, in a video statement on X. “Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”
Romney also described the many challenges the United States continues to face, including “mounting national debt, climate change, and the ambitious authoritarians of Russia and China”…and as he sees it, neither Biden nor Trump can handle them.
“On the deficits and debt, both men refuse to address entitlements even though they represent two-thirds of federal spending,” he continued. “Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax and President Biden offers feel-good solutions that will make no difference to the global climate.”
“President Biden underinvests in the military and President Trump underinvests in our alliances. Political motivations too often impede the solutions that these challenges demand. The next generation of leaders must take America to the next stage of global leadership.”
Romney doubled down in his criticism of his own party in a follow-up interview with The Washington Post, saying that the Republicans are “inclined to a populist demagogue message,” hence his reluctance to put himself at the forefront of party politics again. “If it can change in the direction of a populist, it can change back in the direction of my wing of the Republican Party.”
Thanking Utah residents for their support, Romney promised that he would not retire from the fight for his state’s interests. “I’ll be your United States Senator until January 2025. I will keep working on these and other issues and I will advance our state’s numerous priorities,” he pledged.
My message to Utahns on my Senate reelection plan: pic.twitter.com/kgbsfIxMeR
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 13, 2023
In response to Romney’s announcement, his critics within the Republican party began celebrating his departure, highlighting just how far his reputation has fallen since his time as the 2012 presidential nominee. Foremost among those critics was Donald Trump himself, who called Romney’s departure “fantastic news for America, the great state of Utah, & for the Republican party” on Truth Social.