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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Mitt Romney Did NOT Form Alliance With Top Dem To Go After Trump

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 02 Nov 2019 18:55:01 Z)

Did Mitt Romney just form an "alliance" with a "top dem" to go after President Trump? No, that's not true: a Daily Beast interview with former Senate majority leader Harry Reid published early in August 2019 in which he praised Romney for standing up to President Trump was blown far out of proportion by a hyperpartisan site later that month and the story has since been copied by several other websites and YouTube channels.

The story recently popped up again as an article published by Conservative Flash on November 1, 2019 titled "Mitt Romney Forms Alliance With Top Dem To Go After Trump" (archived here) which opened:

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney backstabbed President Donald Trump again this week and formed a political alliance with a top Democrat to go after the president.

The Daily Beast reports that Romney held a secret meeting former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- and they discussed how to get rid of Trump.

While speaking with The Daily Beast, Reid lamented that he was "pretty damn worried" about Trump winning re-election in 2020.

Reid has also reportedly been reaching out to certain congressional Republicans in an attempt to persuade them to publicly rebuke Trump.

So it's not too surprising he went to Romney, one of the most notorious Never-Trumpers in Congress, to discuss how they can dump POTUS.

"I've never known a human being in a position of prominence that you can do nothing to damage his ego in any way," he said. "It is absolutely unbelievable."

Reid said they "both acknowledged that we had gone a little too far" in attacking each other during the 2012 presidential election.

Now that Reid needs help bringing down Trump, he sings Romney's praises.

"I think he's one of the best things come out of Utah in a long time," he said. "I think that he's a good person."

Screenshot of https://conservativeflash.com/2019/11/01/mitt-romney-forms-alliance-with-top-dem-to-go-after-trump/

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Mitt Romney Forms Alliance With Top Dem To Go After Trump

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney backstabbed President Donald Trump again this week and formed a political alliance with a top Democrat to go after the president. The Daily Beast reports that Romne...

Conservative Flash's claim that it happened "this week" is the first thing that is wrong with this story. The exact same article first appeared on August 14, 2019 on Trending Politics (archived here):

Mitt Romney Forms Alliance With Top Dem To Go After Trump

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney backstabbed President Donald Trump again this week and formed a political alliance with a top Democrat to go after the president. The Daily Beast reports that Romney held a secret meeting former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- and they discussed how to get rid of Trump.

So Conservative Flash is just peddling an old article as news here. And that old article has its own problems. Calling Harry Reid a "top Democrat" is generous: he retired in 2016 after being injured in an excercise mishap and is not running for office anywhere. And the "secret meeting" happened at a conference, hardly the sort of venue where you plan discreet negotiations.

The original story was based on this Daily Beast article (which it quotes but doesn't link to for obvious reasons):

Harry Reid on Trump's 2020 Odds: 'I'm Pretty Damn Worried'

LAS VEGAS - Harry Reid has spent decades building a reputation as a stone cold pragmatist and a master political tactician. Which is why he barely hesitated when asked about the possibility that Donald Trump-a man he fears and despises-could win re-election in 2020.

This is the entire section from that article that mentions Mitt Romney:

Reid, of course, is hardly an unbiased analyst of internal Republican politics. But he's not simply prone to taking whacks either. His perspective is broken down on a simple fault line: those who stand up to Trump and those who don't. In that vein, he found himself doing what would have been unthinkable just years prior--heaping praise on Mitt Romney, for whom he has long been a political bete noire. The two met privately at a conference in Utah back in February 2018, during which--as Reid stated--"we both acknowledged that we had gone a little too far." Reid memorably had claimed that a source told him that Romney was not revealing his tax returns because he had paid no taxes. Romney revealed two years of tax returns that showed he had indeed done so.

Reid declined, once more, to reveal his source for the claim. But he didn't hide his new enthusiasm for Romney for being one of the few elected GOP officials willing to admonish the president on occasion.

"I think he's one of the best things come out of Utah in a long time," he said. "I think that he's a good person. I've watched him in the Senate. He's one of the few people speaks out--not all the time--but against Trump."

There is no mention of discussions about "dumping POTUS" or "going after Trump". All it says is that Reid and Romney met at a conference once and Reid praised Romney for standing up to Trump. There is no mention of Romney's reaction. That can't really be called "forming an alliance" on the part of Romney. If a bit of praise is all it takes to warrant talk about an alliance, consider this more recent Fox News story:

Harry Reid issues warning to Democrats ahead of 2020: Do not underestimate Trump

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a warning to Democrats ahead of the 2020 election: Do not underestimate President Trump. In an interview with CNN's "Axe Files," Reid told host David Axelrod that he disagrees with anyone who believes Trump will be easy to beat, saying they "have another thing coming."

Is Trump now allied with Reid too? We don't think so.

We wrote about conservativeflash.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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