As the backlash against Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, mounts, the president and his supporters have begun attempting to tie the senator in with the Bidens and their dealings in Ukraine.
Though President Donald Trump and Romney have never been on especially good terms, their bad blood has certainly escalated following Romney’s vote to convict Trump during the Senate impeachment trial. As the only Republican to not vote for acquittal, he has quickly become one of the most reviled members of the Republican Party.
Now, Trump’s team is going nuclear on Romney – going so far as to accuse him of engaging in corruption in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Trump’s campaign tweeted an article that alleged a connection between Romney and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump also retweeted a follower’s conspiracy theory which suggests that Romney’s impeachment vote was done as an attempt to conceal his own corrupt activities in Ukraine.
The deputy communications director for Trump’s re-election campaign, Matt Wolking, told Politico that the campaign was justified in sending its tweet about Romney. “It’s a fact. Why shouldn’t they know?” he said.
As the new narrative goes, Joseph Cofer Black, who had worked as an adviser during Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, had been involved with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma at the same time Hunter Biden was serving on its board. The assumption, then, is that the adviser was involved in the same alleged corruption that Biden was allegedly engaging in.
In reality, Black’s involvement with Burisma began six months after Biden left its board. A spokesperson for Romney has said that Black’s ties to Romney are, at best, thin: “There were hundreds of informal policy advisers to the Romney campaign. If you were a Republican policy expert at that time, chances are you were part of that group.”
Although these allegations began circulating among conservative online outlets earlier this year, they found renewed traction after Romney’s impeachment trial vote.
No doubt Trump’s team would prefer to keep fostering discussion about the allegations surrounding Hunter Biden and Ukraine, both to continue to damage Joe Biden’s campaign and to reinforce the notion that Trump’s dealings with Ukraine were done purely out of an interest in combating political corruption.
The attempts to link Romney to Burisma are only the latest examples of conservative retaliation against the Utah senator. He was formally uninvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, with one of its organizers claiming that he couldn’t guarantee Romney’s “physical safety” were he to attend.