Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, right, and former Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, have a discussion on the state of democracy around the world at an event hosted by the University of Denver’s Josef Corbel School of International Studies on Feb. 28, 2020.
Three weeks after becoming the first U.S. senator in history to vote to convict a president of his own party, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah stopped in Denver on Friday night to discuss the state of democracies around the world.
Romney was joined by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark, for a conversation at the University of Denver’s School of International Studies. The event was hosted by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, a non-profit founded by Rasmussen to advance democracies and free markets.
“I am so honored to be on stage with what I would say is a true profile in courage,” Rasmussen said of Romney during his opening remarks, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd of about 300 people in a packed university auditorium.
There are a couple of times I have said things or taken positions that were more expedient than they were based upon conviction. I remember those things precisely and I regret them enormously,” Romney said. “And I said, ‘I’m not doing that again.’ I’ve reached a point in my life where I look back and I say of all the things I’ve done in my life, I think those couple of things really stand out and they really bother me. Years, decades later, and I’m not going to do that anymore.”
Rasmussen and Romney spent the rest of their time discussing burgeoning democracies, nationalism, geopolitics and emerging technologies. They lamented decreases in democracy and increases in nationalism around the world.
“There has been a realignment, to a certain degree, of our (political) parties,” Romney said, noting that blue-collar Americans, especially in the Midwest, voted solidly Democrat for years, before backing President Donald Trump in large numbers. And, he noted, many college-educated women have left the GOP.
“I think that’s difficult for my party,” Romney said of the realignment, “because we’re not doing well with young people. We’re not doing well with minorities. We’re not doing well with women. And if you’re not doing well with those groups, it’s going to be hard long-term to be successful.”