Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has called out members of his own party for putting their political ambitions ahead of the best interests of the nation.
And there’s one GOP lawmaker in particular he seems to have special disdain for.
“I don’t know that I can disrespect someone more than J.D. Vance,” Romney told journalist McKay Coppins during Vance’s 2022 Senate campaign, according to a book excerpt published Wednesday in The Atlantic.
Romney, who on Wednesday announced he will not seek reelection next year, told Coppins at the time that he was impressed by Vance after reading his book, “Hillbilly Elegy.”
That changed when Vance went full MAGA and embraced Donald Trump as he ran for Senate.
“How can you go over a line so stark as that — and for what?” Romney said. “It’s not like you’re going to be famous and powerful because you became a United States senator. It’s like, really? You sell yourself so cheap?”
Romney didn’t seem ready to break bread with Vance anytime soon.
“How do you sit next to him at lunch?” he asked at the time, according to the excerpt.
In response to the excerpt, Vance told reporters Thursday: “It’s interesting to hear somebody criticizing another for having a change of heart. I think he’s had about 35 of those during his time in public life. If he’s got a problem with me, he should talk to me, not whine to a reporter.”
Vance and Romney teamed up on introducing several bills this year, including legislation to bolster railway safety and hike the minimum wage to $11 per hour.
Romney also called out Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the excerpt for publicly backing Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
“They know better!” he told Coppins. “Josh Hawley is one of the smartest people in the Senate, if not the smartest, and Ted Cruz could give him a run for his money.”
He accused the pair of putting “politics above the interests of liberal democracy and the Constitution.”
Coppins’ book, “Romney: A Reckoning,” hits stores Oct. 24.
Read the full excerpt at The Atlantic.
Igor Bobic contributed.