In the wake of the brutal beatdown that Liz Cheney took in her primary race on Tuesday, her future political plans remain up in the air. And, of course, her “important” work on the January 6 committee will keep her busy and maintain her status as a liberal rockstar on CNN and MSNBC. But as she ponders her future, she’s getting some encouragement from another high-profile political figure from a neighboring state. Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney gave an interview to the Deseret News this week where he “encouraged” Cheney not to run for president, assuming she’s seriously contemplating that. In his usual fashion, Romney wasn’t going on the attack against Cheney. He just sounded like he was being a realist, saying that it wouldn’t work out and she “would not become the nominee” if she decided to run.

As Rep. Liz Cheney contemplates her next move after losing the Republican primary in Wyoming this week, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says he wouldn’t encourage her to run for president.

“I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur,” Romney told the Deseret News on Thursday.

Cheney, he said, might run for other purposes but “I’m not in collaboration with that effort.”

Mitt’s final comment on the topic was rather interesting. He suggested that Cheney might consider running “for other purposes.” But what other purpose might one have for investing all of the time, energy, and money required to make a primary run if not to win the nomination? The answer should be obvious and Cheney has basically admitted to it herself. She would be running to try to draw votes away from Donald Trump and thwart his anticipated comeback attempt.

Romney appeared to throw cold water on that idea as well. He repeated his previous assertion that Donald Trump would “almost certainly” be the nominee if he decides to run again in 2024. He amplified that by saying that even if Trump doesn’t run, the winner would not be someone “who is seen outside the Trump circle.”

Keep in mind that Mitt Romney is no Trump fan and he has praised Liz Cheney in the past, so this advice is probably quite sincere. Romney was one of a handful who voted to impeach Donald Trump, putting him on the Bad Orange Man’s naughty list. He has also praised Cheney’s participation in the January 6 committee, calling it “important work.”

I still have doubts that Liz Cheney is really considering a primary bid. She’s been in the game for a while and comes from an iconic Republican family. She knows how these things work. Who is seriously going to support her in the primary outside of the remnants of the never-Trump movement who were never going to vote for Trump anyway? As I’ve argued on social media multiple times already, she can’t seriously expect Democrats across the country to suddenly start switching parties to push forward a candidate whose policies they would almost unanimously abhor. (Aside from her opposition to Trump, that is.)

Mitt also took a moment to “salute her courage.”

“I salute her courage. You wouldn’t call it courage, by the way, if there were no consequences for doing what you think is right. She did what she thought was right. I believe she was right,” Romney said.

It’s worth noting that Romney’s current term will be drawing to a close in 2024 when the presidential election will be in its final stretch. With his vote to impeach Trump sitting on his record, he could find himself in the same boat that Cheney was in, perhaps leading to some of his sympathy for her. But we should also point out that Mitt will be 77 years old on election day in 2024. If he managed to win a second term he would be well into his eighties by the time it was over. He has thus far refused to commit to running for another term and he’s pretty clearly made himself a target for Trump supporters. Bear in mind that Trump won Utah by more than 20 points in 2020 with nearly 60% of the vote. I don’t think it’s a shoo-in that Romney would survive a primary challenge in 2024.

This interview may tell us more about Mitt Romney’s future than Liz Cheney’s. If I had to bet a nickel on the question, I would say that Mitt will announce his retirement shortly after the midterms. That takes the target off of his back and gives other Utah Republicans time to start jockeying for the nomination to replace him.

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