Mitt Romney is that guy.
The kid who made the team because his parents donated big dough to the school but gives footwork advice to the other legit athletes. The fraternity brother who wore khakis to keg parties and drank Bartles and Jaymes out of a solo cup but pretended it was beer. The office colleague who cribbed someone else’s idea from a presentation or an email chain and passed it off as his own to the boss. Then he became the executive who inspires only eyerolls during his weekly motivational session. “How the hell did this guy get this far?!” everyone internally screams.
He secretly keeps squeezy balls in his desk drawer to calm his nerves before he has to call the boss, and, when those fail to ease his jitters, he keeps a bottle of Rumchata in the file cabinet just in case.
He’s a 31 handicap and he doesn’t even count all his strokes. He wears CrossFit gear but does water aerobics. He owns a Porsche but won’t drive it more than 59 miles per hour. He starts laughing before he tells a joke because he knows he can’t deliver but is trying to get you to play along. He pretends to know the words to Metallica and Guns N’ Roses and the Violent Femmes while playing air guitar on his Bobolat racket, but his iPod is loaded with Barry Manilow and Celine Dion.
A guy with so much cringe who thinks he’s boffo: Cowardice camouflaged in smugness.
In other words, a fraud. A phony. And, because losing presidential candidates never die, they just relocate to another state and run for the U.S. Senate, the American people must now tolerate the national version of the Mitt Romney We All Know In Real Life.
Romney is an amalgam of all of Logan Roy’s offspring in “Succession” without Kendall’s personality, Shiv’s integrity, Connor’s political instincts, or Roman’s sexual prowess. (For those who don’t watch the show, the characters possess none of the above traits.)
The fakery that seems to be the blood type of the junior U.S. senator from Utah and self-appointed Trump antagonist came oozing out over the weekend after Slate writer Ashley Feinberg outed his burner Twitter account.
Apparently, the twice-losing Republican presidential candidate is an admitted “lurker” on the social media website and amuses himself by replying to anti-Trump posts and any comment—favorable or not—about himself. One can almost imagine him lying in bed wearing his monogrammed robe, scratching the back of his slumbering wife with one hand while quietly typing “romney’ in Twitter’s search box with the other. Taking on the pseudonym of “Pierre Delecto,” the prim Mormon momentarily can unload his political, religious, and familial burdens to spar on the profane platform, liking tweets of fellow Trump foes and whining to blue-check marks who dare challenge his moral authority.
The revelation followed the publication of a nauseating profile in The Atlantic that boasted of how Romney has discovered newfound (or maybe just “found”?) political courage in the age of Trump. Reporter McKay Coppins marveled at a “liberated” Mitt Romney. “Unconstrained by consultants, unconcerned about reelection, he is thinking about things such as legacy, and inheritance, and the grand sweep of history,” Coppins swooned.
Mitt/Pierre, Coppins informs, is scouring The Federalist Papers and memorizing Senate parliamentary procedure to gear up for a possible impeachment trial of Donald Trump. In between reading John Jay and Robert’s Rules, Mitt/Pierre also is working on plans to combat anthropogenic global warming, curb vaping, and get college athletes paid because those policies are “severely conservative” dontcha know.
The guy who has spent the better part of almost 30 years running for state and federal office—including an attempted stint in the Trump White House—insisted that politics doesn’t define his life. “I don’t attach the kind of—I don’t know—psychic currency to it that people who made politics their entire life,” Romney said, presumably unconvincingly. (Pierre must like when he talks that way.)
But then, Romney revealed that he plays with an anonymous Twitter profile. Thinking it would make him look super edgy to all the Cool Kids, Mitt/Pierre bragged to Coppin about his social media alter ego—but the wily guy who saved the Olympics managed to give away just enough detail that a reporter discovered the troll account in about 12 seconds.
And because the real Romney is like the Romney We All Know, the move backfired—and gloriously so. The only thing more embarrassing than his pseudonym was the account’s activity. Mitt/Pierre bantered with NeverTrump squalls including Jennifer Rubin and Joe Scarborough. He gave Twitter attaboys to other NeverTrumpers, including David French, Evan McMullin, Peter Wehner, and Erick Erickson. Far-left liberals, such as Laurence Tribe, and Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), also earned Twitter respect from Mitt/Pierre. And, of course, Mitt/Pierre “liked” several posts from his own official Senate twitter handle.
After Romney’s anonymous Twitter account was exposed, he fessed up. Then he did the most Romney-esque thing ever: He protected his account. It was almost as predictable as finding out that Romney eats a birthday cake made out of Twinkies and blows out the candles one at a time. (A culinary habit that Pierre, no doubt, would find de mauvais goût.)
The weekend’s revelations brought to mind Trump’s own post-election trolling of Romney. Except, unlike Mitt/Pierre, The Donald did his dirty work in public. In clear view of photographers, the president-elect dined with Romney a few weeks after the 2016 election to tease him with the job of secretary of state. After the French (!) meal, Romney slobbered all over Trump, praising him for his leadership and “inclusiveness.” After continuing to bait Romney for weeks, Trump picked someone else.
Now, Romney is trying to act like a tough guy. But whether it was his failure to confront Barack Obama about his post-Benghazi lies before the 2012 presidential election; his groveling before Donald Trump after the 2016 election; or his operating behind a hilarious Twitter alias, Mitt Romney can never quite pull off the act.
We all know the type—and Romney, reliably, plays it to a tee.