Dec 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Romney likens Trump to "human gumball machine" after dictator comment

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joked during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that former President Trump was a "human gumball machine" due to his tendency to give unfiltered remarks.

Why it matters: Romney's quip came in response to Trump's comments during a town hall last week that he would not be a "dictator" if elected in 2024 "other than day one."

The big picture: "Donald Trump is kind of a human gumball machine," Romney said.

  • "A thought or a notion comes in, and it comes out of his mouth. There's not a lot of filter that goes on. There's not a lot of, 'What's the implication?' No, no. He just says whatever," he added.
  • However, while Romney said he doesn't attach too much importance to the words Trump said while playing to a crowd, he stressed that there is reason for concern.
  • "I do think you can look at his record as president, and particularly in the last months of his presidency, and say, 'This is a dangerous approach. It's an authoritarian approach.'"

Zoom out: Trump remains the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 race amidst a crowded field of Republican candidates still trying to break through to challenge him.

  • While Romney has not yet endorsed any candidate, he lauded former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as having done a "terrific job" in the race so far, saying his presence had kept Trump from coming to the GOP debates.
  • Romney also praised former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, saying "right now, I think she's the only one that has a shot of becoming the nominee" apart from Trump, though he cautioned it remains a "long shot."
  • As for former President Biden's own bid for reelection, Romney said he felt there are "a couple of other Democrats" that he felt would be a better option than Biden.

Worth noting: Romney's candid remarks come after he announced in September that he would not be running for reelection in the Senate next year.

  • Romney, who has been a vocal Trump critic, said last month that he would be willing to vote for a Democrat in 2024.

Go deeper: GOP's "dictator" test

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