As the #NeverTrump forces continue to cast about for ways to knock Donald Trump from his frontrunner status in the race for the White House, the editor of the Weekly Standard magazine has admitted to meeting in D.C. with Mitt Romney in order to convince him to run a third party campaign against Trump.
Despite repeatedly saying he isn’t interested in running for president, Mitt Romney nonetheless met last week with William Kristol. The meeting was called at the editor’s behest for a talk about an independent run for the White House this year.
Romney, a former Massachusetts Governor and the 2012 GOP nominee for President, has said several times this cycle that he is not interested in running for president again. In March, for instance, the past GOP nominee told NBC Today Host Matt Lauer that “there are no circumstances I can foresee where it would possibly happen.”
Regardless of his pledge, Romney met with Kristol to discuss the conservative commentator’s ideas about putting together a last minute alternative to Donald Trump.
“He came pretty close to being elected president, so I thought he may consider doing it, especially since he has been very forthright in explaining why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should not be president of the United States,” Kristol told the Washington Post.
Kristol, though, said he did recognize the many times Romney has said he isn’t interested in running in 2016 and added that if Romney turned him down he hoped he could get the Massachusetts Gov. to line up behind whatever candidate the magazine editor might eventually find.
“Obviously, if there were to be an independent candidacy, Romney’s support would be very important,” Kristol told the paper. “I wanted to get his wisdom on whether it was more or less doable than I thought.”
Still, even if he won’t consider yet another run for the White House himself, Romney has been a vocal critic of the 2016 campaign in general and Donald Trump in particular.
In fact, Last Thursday Romney told the Washington Examiner that he was “dismayed” by the choices for 2016 and insisted he won’t support either of the candidates representing the nation’s two major parties.
“I’m certainly going to be hoping that we find someone who I have my confidence in who becomes nominee. I don’t intend on supporting either of the major party candidates at this point,” Romney said.
For his part, Bill Kristol has been calling for someone he feels is better than Trump for months and has been trying to find a way to make some other candidate the “face of American conservatism” for 2016.
On a recent appearance on MSNBC, for instance, Kristol said, “We can do better” than Trump and Hillary. He added that Trump doesn’t have the “character” to be our commander in chief.
“I would like to have a conservative to vote for,” Kristol told Andrea Mitchell. “I think an awful lot of people in the country would, including a lot of moderates and conservatives … We have two candidates who are viewed by considerable majorities in an unfavorable way, not a favorable way, as the major party nominees.”
Another person Kristol tried to convince to face off against Hillary and Trump was retired Marine Corps General James Mattis. The General, though, delivered a firm “no” to Kristol’s idea.