SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump will likely continue to have influence in Republican politics, even after the presidential election was called for Democrat Joe Biden, his most vocal critic within the party said Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Trump’s significant presence on social media and his ability to turn out the vote among his political supporters mean he isn’t going away.
“He continues in my view to have substantial influence within the party,” Romney said. “If he wants to continue to have a role in the party, he certainly will.”
Romney has criticized Trump several times before, most recently saying the president was “damaging the cause of freedom” and inflaming “destructive and dangerous passions.” Trump is claiming, without foundation, that the election was rigged and stolen from him.
Romney has also congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, something a number of his fellow Republicans have not done.
Romney said Trump is within his rights to call for recounts and investigations into any voting irregularities. But the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said any problems likely won’t change the outcome of the election.
While there’s no one factor that can explain the outcome of the race, Romney said Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic likely did not win over any new supporters.
“Had we not had COVID at all, I think it would have been likely the president would have been re-elected,” Romney said.