It’s time for baby boomer politicians to move on
Mitt Romney has said he will stand down from the Senate at the next election, as he called for politicians in their eighties to “move on” and argued the Republican Party has been captured by a “super MAGA” faction.
The Utah senator, 76, said he would not seek a second term in Congress after a career spanning three decades and two presidential bids.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Tuesday, Mr Romney criticised “baby boomer” politicians including Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, and called for the GOP to return to the moderate centre-right.
‘I think that the Trump fever will ultimately break’
The senator bemoaned the success of Donald Trump, who has been leading primary polls since he announced his candidacy in March, and pledged to focus on climate change and US debt in his remaining months in office.
“There’s no question that the party has two divisions, at least, and one is very populist – the Donald Trump super MAGA wing of the Republican Party,” he said.
“I represent a much smaller wing. I call it the wise wing of the Republican Party. I think that the Trump fever will ultimately break and the parties will realign, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”
Mr Romney, who ran for president in 2008 and 2012, has become one of the most vocal critics of Mr Trump in the GOP, and twice voted to impeach him during his 2016-2020 White House term.
In a separate interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, he argued that with Mr Trump, the Republicans had turned to a “populist demagogue message”.
Mr Romney said the former president was once again the “presumptive nominee” for the GOP, a prediction most front-line Republicans have avoided.
But his criticism will also be interpreted as a reaction to the opinion poll ratings of Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, who have both backed an “America First” agenda associated with Mr Trump and the populist Right.
‘Time for people in their eighties to move on’
In an apparent suggestion Mr Biden is too old to continue as president beyond next year’s election, Mr Romney also called for “baby boomers” to leave politics to make way for a younger generation.
“The reality is we’re doing a lot of things as the baby boomer generation that are going to have a big impact over a long period of time,” he told The Telegraph.
“We need some young people to step up and say, ‘no, we want to make these decisions in the way we want them to shape our lives,’ and that’s not happening yet.
“Frankly, it’s time for people in their eighties to move on.
“We’re going to get some young people to step forward and to shape our party and make decisions that will affect the future of our country,” he said.
“That can’t happen if a bunch of 80-year-olds are making the decisions on things like AI and how we’re going to deal with China and Russia.”
Senator makes swipe at Biden and Trump
Mr Trump, 77, and Mr Biden, 80, are two of many high-profile US politicians to continue their careers into their late seventies and eighties, including Nancy Pelosi, 83, and Mitch McConnell, 81.
A recent poll found that three quarters of Americans believe politicians should be subject to an age limit, while the same proportion believe Mr Biden personally is too old to stand again next year.
Mr Romney told The Telegraph he would use his final 18 months in Congress to focus on climate change, authoritarian regimes and spiralling US sovereign debt.
“I have to admit that I think they’re hard to accomplish because I think they require a presidential leadership, and I think President Biden and former President Trump – depending on who gets elected – are both unwilling to really do what’s necessary to confront them,” he said.
On global warming, he said the US was “not doing the things that would actually impact global climate” and should put more pressure on China, Brazil and India to cut their emissions.
Mr Romney promised to “stay involved and try and have as much impact as I possibly can” before he leaves Congress at the end of his six-year term in 2025.
But his decision to leave politics ends a three-decade career in US politics, as a state governor, senator and presidential nominee.
A former governor of Massachusetts, Mr Romney is perhaps best known for his 2012 presidential campaign against Barack Obama, in which he won just one of nine battleground states and 206 electoral votes to Mr Obama’s 332.
Despite his criticism of Mr Trump during the next election campaign in 2016, the two men reportedly met to discuss the prospect of Mr Romney taking over the State Department – a position that was ultimately handed to Rex Tillerson.
Mr Romney then ran for Congress in Utah in 2019, making him the third politician in US history to have represented one state as a governor and another in the Senate.