Utah Senate hopeful Mitt Romney. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Mitt Romney will most likely come to Washington early next year as a senator from Utah, but the former GOP presidential nominee has already begun laying out what role he hopes to play in the Republican Party, which has radically shifted under President Trump.

The big question: It's still unclear what he plans to do concerning Trump, whom he had criticized during the 2016 presidential campaign as someone who would cause the United States to "cease to be a shining city on a hill" before adopting a more conciliatory tone in recent months.

What's happening:

  • Romney has informed senior party officials about his desire to be vocal on issues involving to the federal deficit, congressional approval of last-minute spending bills, and foreign affairs, according to senators, major party donors and people close to the Romney who spoke with Politico.
  • He’s urging major party donors in the national fundraising network he established during his 2012 presidential bid to help fend off Democratic challengers seeking to retake the House and Senate majorities.
  • And even though Trump has endorsed Romney — after failed efforts to convince Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection — some donors and business leaders who attended Romney's annual retreat in Utah want him to challenge the president in 2020, per The New York Times.
  • Yes, but: Romney predicted last week Trump would "solidly" win a second term.

Be smart: Axios' Jonathan Swan reported earlier this year — after Trump endorsed Romney's Senate run — that while Romney push back against the president on key items such as trade and foreign policy, he's less likely to "make his campaign or Senate tenure a non-stop critique of Trump."

Go deeper: A timeline of Trump and Romney's tumultuous relationship.

Go deeper

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