- Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday said President Joe Biden was not elected to “transform America.”
- Romney said people who backed Biden “were looking to get back to normal” and “stop the crazy.”
- The senator said Biden’s latest voting-rights speech was not helpful in forging bipartisanship.
Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday dinged President Joe Biden’s governing approach, arguing that the longtime Democratic lawmaker was elected to restore a sense of normality to government and was not put into office to “transform” the country.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Utah Republican — who was also the party’s presidential nominee in 2012 — told the host Chuck Todd that Biden needed to adhere to his commitment to bridge partisan divisions in the country in the wake of the president’s fiery voting-rights speech in Atlanta last week.
“President Biden said he was going to try to unite the country,” the senator said. “His comments in Georgia did not suggest he’s trying to pull us back together again.”
He continued: “He’s got to recognize that when he was elected, people were not looking for him to transform America. They were looking to get back to normal. To stop the crazy. And it seems like we’re continuing to see the kinds of policy and promotions that are not accepted by the American people.”
Romney’s comments mirrored the sentiment of Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who said in November that voters elected Biden not to become the next Franklin D. Roosevelt in pushing for major changes in government but to move away from the tumult of the Trump administration.
For months, Democrats have sought to enact key voting-rights legislation — namely the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — in the face of Republican resistance to the bills in the Senate, while also dealing with opposition from within their own party.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona oppose carving out a filibuster exception for voting rights and have consistently rejected eliminating the filibuster altogether, much to the consternation of progressives.
In the evenly divided Senate, Biden’s most ambitious policy items — including the roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better social-spending bill that invests in healthcare, early education, and climate initiatives — have faced a tough road to passage. Negotiations between Manchin and the White House over a slimmed-down social-spending bill fell apart last month, and talks have seemingly been shelved, according to a recent Washington Post report.
Romney, who worked with Biden to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law in November, said the president should push for a “reset” regarding his presidency, arguing that the Democrat had “a bad year.”
The senator pointed to concerns surrounding inflation, the rise in illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border last year, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and logistical issues with Americans accessing COVID-19 testing kits in his critique of the administration.
“Things are not going well,” Romney said. “And the president needs to stop and reset and say what is it he’s trying to accomplish.”
He continued: “And if it’s to try and transform America, he is not going to unite us. Bringing us together means finding a way to work on a bipartisan basis. He had one success, the infrastructure bill, and that was done by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate working together. Build on that kind of success.”