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Donald Trump and Mitt Romney are friends now! Barf.

On Monday night, President Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney's Utah Senate candidacy. He did so, of course, ...

Posted: Feb 20, 2018 11:56 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2018 11:56 PM

On Monday night, President Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney's Utah Senate candidacy. He did so, of course, via Twitter:

".@MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!"

Romney, who is an overwhelming favorite to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, quickly responded in kind:

"Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah."

Well, isn't that special!

Here's the thing: That exchange of tweets is exactly why people hate politics and, I hate to say it, why that hatred is justified.

What we know about Donald Trump is that he doesn't like Mitt Romney. What we know about Mitt Romney is that he doesn't like Donald Trump.

Here's a brief walk down memory lane for the two men.

Back in February 2016, Romney said on Fox News, "We have good reason to believe that there's a bombshell in Donald Trump's taxes."

Trump responded on Twitter: "Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!"

Romney responded to that tweet with another tweet: "Methinks the Donald doth protest too much. Show voters your back taxes, @realDonaldTrump. #WhatIsHeHiding."

The following month, Romney upped the ante with a speech that functioned as a point-by-point rejection of Trump and Trumpism. He said, in part:

"Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."

Trump, of course, didn't let that attack go unanswered. Of Romney's 2012 presidential bid, Trump said at a campaign rally in Maine: "He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees."

So, that happened.

Romney voted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Utah's presidential primary. In the summer of 2016, he said he wouldn't vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in November. "It's a matter of personal conscience," Romney said at the time. "I can't vote for either of those two people."

Then came the super-weird float of Romney as a potential secretary of state nominee for Trump. In retrospect, that seems largely like a feint by Trump -- although it did give the Internet one of its great photos. Ever.

And now, this. Trump offering a full-throated endorsement of Romney and Romney accepting it.

The "why" is obvious -- on both ends.

For Trump, he sees that Romney has no serious primary challenge and is about as close to a sure thing to win in the fall as you will find in an open-seat Senate race. Trump, as you may have picked up on, likes winners -- and being associated with winning. Now, when Romney likely wins, Trump can take credit. In endorsing Romney, Trump also plays nice with Hatch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both of whom urged him to back Romney.

For Romney, like Adam Sandler's goat, his options are pretty much limited here. Reject Trump's endorsement in any sort of public manner and run the risk of Trump savaging you on Twitter and working to find someone to run against you. Ignore the endorsement and watch as you are asked what you think of Trump at every single campaign appearance until you decide you have to answer the question somehow.

I get it. But it doesn't make the whole thing any less unsavory.

These are two people who don't like each other. Their personalities, their lives, their beliefs are all polar opposites.

As the Boston Globe's Scott Helman told me last week, "The Romney ethos could hardly diverge more from the Trump ethos, especially in terms of character and temperament."

Which is totally fine! Not everyone we meet in our lives is destined to be our best friend. Or our friend at all. (In fact, I subscribe to the Chuck Klosterman theory that we all need a good villain.)

Politicians do best when they act like normal people. They do worst when they pretend as though they are emotionless robots. No person, not one, thinks Romney and Trump can stand one another. Acting like they are now friends is dumb. And it's a big reason why people loathe politics and its practitioners.

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