On the same day President Donald Trump endorsed him — saying “We need his vote” — former presidential candidate Mitt Romney called out Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and his supporters in a tweet, saying that “no vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”
Romney also called the women who have come forward with allegations about Roy Moore — many of them Republicans — “courageous heroes.” Leigh Corfman, named in this tweet, told the Washington Post that she’d voted Republican in the last three presidential elections, including Trump’s.
Moore, the Republican candidate, and Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, are locked in a heated battle for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It’s a tight race, as at this time, polling averages place the candidates within 1-2 percent of each other; many individual polls are within the margin of error.
Romney has frequently criticized Republican figures he sees as divisive or wrong for the party. In 2016, Romney came out to make a speech in which he called then-candidate Donald Trump a “phony” and a “fraud,” adding that “dishonesty is Trump’s hallmark.”
The timing of Trump’s endorsement and Romney’s tweet suggests that Romney wanted to send a message to President Trump.
In response, Trump called him a “failed candidate” and said Romney had “begged” for his endorsement in 2012, when Romney was running for President. That year, Donald Trump recorded robocalls, gave radio interviews and performed other work as a surrogate of the Romney campaign, according to the New Yorker.
After Trump won the election and began to fill his cabinet, he joined then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for a dinner in New York, sparking rumors that Romney might join Trump’s cabinet. Romney was never nominated for a Cabinet position.