President Trump endorses Mitt Romney in Utah Senate race

Romney enters Senate race

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has endorsed Mitt Romney in Utah's Senate race, another sign they are burying the hatchet after a fraught relationship. Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, announced last week he would seek the nomination to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch.

In a tweet Monday night, Mr. Trump wrote that Romney will make a great senator and worthy successor to Hatch. 

Romney quickly thanked the president for his endorsement Monday.

Mr. Trump has not always been so positive about Romney. In 2016, Trump said Romney had "choked like a dog" during his failed 2012 bid against former President Barack Obama.

"The last election should have been won, except Romney choked like a dog," Mr. Trump said of Romney during a New York rally. "He choked. He went 'I can't breathe! I can't breathe,' he said."

For his part, Romney gave a scathing critique of then-candidate Mr. Trump during the GOP primary that year, calling him a "phony" who was unfit for office.

"Here's what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud," Romney said in a 2016 speech in Salt Lake City. "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."

Members of both political parties have suggested that Romney, if elected to the Senate, would continue to call out Mr. Trump if he believed the president warranted criticism. However, Romney did not mention Mr. Trump or his scandal-plagued administration in his campaign announcement on Friday, focusing instead on how his adopted state of Utah could be a model for better government in Washington.

Asked Friday if he would seek or accept Mr. Trump's endorsement, Romney demurred but said they had talked on the phone two or three times in recent months and had a cordial and respectful relationship.