Speed Reads

2018 elections

Mitt Romney made a telling change to his Twitter profile after Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement

After Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he won't in fact be seeking re-election in 2018, Mitt Romney, for whatever reason, decided to finally update his Twitter profile location from Massachusetts to Holladay, Utah — as Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur fortuitously documented:

Romney had been considering a run for Hatch's seat whether or not the long-serving senator retired, Politico says, and he's expected to formally announce his Senate campaign in a few weeks. President Trump had been publicly and privately urging Hatch to run again, apparently in a bid to block Romney from running. After a trip to Utah in December, Trump called Romney ostensibly to "ease tensions between the two men," Politico reports, "but the 10-minute chat only further raised suspicions within Romney's inner circle that the president was out to stymie the former GOP presidential nominee's political ambitions."

Romney is the heavy favorite to replace Hatch, and he has reportedly been telling GOP donors, senators, and power brokers that he is willing to speak out against Trump from the Senate. Whether he votes in line with Trump's wishes is perhaps the bigger question, but Romney has been criticizing Trump's policies and rhetoric for two years now, and he has wanted to return to public life for longer than that, Politico reports.

Romney and Trump had a brief detente a year ago, when Romney unsuccessfully auditioned to be Trump's secretary of state over dinner. The Trump team thought this humiliating spectacle had neutered Romney. "Judas Iscariot got 30 pieces of silver; Mitt Romney got a dish of frog legs at Jean-Georges. And even at that, it was the appetizer portion," a high-ranking White House official told The Atlantic's Molly Ball last April. "We've sort of taken out his larynx — how can he criticize [Trump] now?" Stay tuned.