Romney: Trump ‘Respects People Who Speak Their Minds’

Nov 16, 2018, 9:30 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a week of orientation meetings in Washington, D.C., Senator-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he is ready to work with fellow senators and President Donald Trump to tackle important issues.

“There’s places where we see eye to eye, and there are other places where we don’t,” Romney said about President Trump. “I think he understands that and respects people who speak their minds, as I do.”

During an interview Thursday with KSL TV at the Hart Senate Office Building near the U.S. Capitol, the soon-to-be junior senator from Utah said he has not spoken with the president since winning the election but anticipates finding common ground.

Senator-elect Mitt Romney in Washington, D.C.

Senator-elect Mitt Romney in Washington, D.C.

“I’ll expect to work with the president on issues where we see the best interest of the country and the best interest of our state, and hopefully that will be a lot of places,” Romney said.

Romney, 71, will replace Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring after 42 years of service.

“Orrin Hatch is going to be greatly missed in this body,” Romney said. “His impact on the United States Senate and on the legislation coming through this body has been monumental.”

During Senate orientation, Romney said he communicated daily with Sen. Mike Lee, who will become Utah’s senior senator, and networked with senators about possible committee assignments.

“I can’t tell you what those committees would be yet because I don’t want to give a signal to the other folks what I’m shooting for,” he said.

Romney has also settled into a temporary office in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Senator-elect Mitt Romney's temporary office in Washington, D.C.

Senator-elect Mitt Romney’s temporary office in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve got a nice space; I’m not complaining,” Romney said.

In about six months, Romney said he’ll be able to choose a more permanent office once the “musical chairs” of office assignments nears completion.

In the Senate, Romney said he hopes to focus on topics that Utah residents talked to him about during the campaign and also areas of personal interest.

“I care very deeply about healthcare, education, immigration — those are all topics that are very close to me,” he said, “but also, economic development, small business, agriculture, public lands.”

Right out of the gate, Romney said he wants to first work on the budget deficit.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that we are taking in far less than we are spending,” he said.

More of KSL TV’s interview with Romney will air on this week’s Sunday Edition with Doug Wright at 9 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, on KSL 5 TV.

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Romney: Trump ‘Respects People Who Speak Their Minds’