Washington — Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah announced Wednesday he will not run for reelection to a second term in the Senate in 2024, calling for a "new generation of leaders" beyond President Biden and former President Donald Trump to assume power.
"I spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another," Romney said in a video posted on social media. "At the end of another term, I'd be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it's time for a new generation of leaders."
Romney, 76, was the Republican nominee for president in 2012 and easily won election to the Senate in Utah in 2018. He also served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
"While I'm not running for reelection, I'm not retiring from the fight," he said. "I'll be your United States senator until January of 2025."
In 2020, Romney became theto vote to convict a member of his own party in an impeachment trial when he voted to convict Trump of abuse of power. He was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump in that case.
He also voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, though more Republicans crossed the aisle in that vote.
Romney told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the potential for Trump to be on the ballot next year did not sway his decision.
"I think the people in Utah don't all agree with me at the posture I took with regards to Donald Trump. But they respect people who vote their conscience and I appreciate that," he said. "I don't have any question in my mind that I would have won if I'd run again. I just don't think we need another person in their 80s."
In his statement, Romney suggested Mr. Biden and Trump should follow his lead and step aside for younger candidates.
"We face critical challenges — mounting national debt, climate change, and the ambitious authoritarians of Russia and China. Neither President Biden nor former President Trump are leading their party to confront them," Romney said. "The next generation of leaders must take America to the next stage of global leadership."
Those comments echoed sentiments he expressed to CBS News last week.
"I think we'd all be better off if we had younger people the next generation," he said at the Capitol. "I had hoped that we'd have a new generation who'd be running for president on the Democrat side and the Republican side. I wish both of the leaders, both Trump and Biden, were going to stand aside and let a new person come in."
Romney said he spoke with Mr. Biden on Wednesday, and that the president "was very generous and kind in his comments." After he retires from the Senate, he said he plans to focus on getting more young people involved in the political process and voting.
Speaking to the Washington Post ahead of Wednesday's formal announcement, Romney said the political dynamics in Washington were also a factor in his decision to step aside when his term expires.
"It's very difficult for the House to operate, from what I can tell," he said. "And two, and perhaps more importantly, we're probably going to have either Trump or Biden as our next president. And Biden is unable to lead on important matters and Trump is unwilling to lead on important matters."
Nikole Killion contributed reporting.
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