For the second time in less than a week, Illinois is reporting a record number of new cases of COVID-19, with 6,363 confirmed cases on Thursday, while virus hospitalizations surpassed 3,000 for the first time in more than four months.
For the second time in less than a week, Illinois is reporting a record number of new cases of COVID-19, with 6,363 confirmed cases on Thursday, while virus hospitalizations surpassed 3,000 for the first time in more than four months.
The dozens of attendees were all mask-less at Caligula, an illegal sex club, violating New York state COVID-19 regulations.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday criticized President Trump’s legal team over their chaotic press conference last week that failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims that the 2020 election was rigged.“You call a gigantic press conference like that — one that lasts an hour — and you announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells,” Limbaugh said during his show on Monday. “There better be something at that press conference other than what we got…I talked to so many people who were blown away by it, by the very nature of the press conference. They promised blockbuster stuff and then nothing happened, and that’s just, it’s not good.”He added, “If you’re gonna do a press conference like that with the promise of blockbusters, then there has to be something more than what that press conference delivered.”He also questioned the role of lawyer Sidney Powell, who was present at the press conference but has since cut ties with Trump’s legal team.Though Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said Powell is “not a member of the Trump legal team” or a personal lawyer to the president, Limbaugh argued it’s a “tough thing to deny she was ever part of it because they introduced her as part of it."“She was at that press conference last week,” he said.During the press conference on Thursday, Giuliani claimed to have evidence of a "national conspiracy" to steal the election for President-elect Joe Biden, though he said he could not yet release any evidence as the judges presiding over the campaign's lawsuit might object and because his witnesses might face retribution if their names became public. He said he had “at least ten” witnesses ready to describe instances of voter fraud, he couldn’t reveal them publicly because “they don’t want to be harassed.”
A Russian warship caught the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain operating illegally in Russia's territorial waters in the Sea of Japan, but chased it off, Russia's defence ministry said on Tuesday. Moscow said that the Admiral Vinogradov, a Russian destroyer, had verbally warned the U.S. ship and threatened to ram it in order to force it to leave the area. The U.S ship had immediately returned to neutral waters after being warned off, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a private jet to Neom, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday for a secret meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli media and The Wall Street Journal report. Two Saudi government advisers tell the Journal that in their first known face-to-face meeting, Netanyahu and bin Salman discussed Iran and normalizing relations, but no substantial agreements were reached. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israeli spy agency Mossad, was also on the trip, Israel's Army Radio reports.Flight data showed a Gulfstream IV private jet Netanyahu likes to use traveling from Tel Aviv to Neom, a Saudi resort city being developed on the Red Sea.> MBS and Pompeo were at NEOM at the time. https://t.co/bc2H4hETk8> > — avi scharf (@avischarf) November 23, 2020"Pompeo traveled with an American press pool on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince," The Associated Press reports. The Trump administration has recently helped broker deals to normalize relations between Israel and several Gulf Arab states, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates. and Sudan. "Saudi Arabia is seen as the ultimate prize in the high-stakes diplomatic campaign," the Journal notes."The Saudi government, under the direction of King Salman, has so far balked at formal ties with Israel so long as its conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved," the Journal reports. "But Saudi Arabia's king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians' demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran."Benny Gantz, Israel's alternate prime minister under a power-sharing agreement with Netanyahu, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi were in the dark about the meeting, Haaretz reports. "Israel has long had clandestine ties to Gulf Arab states that have strengthened in recent years as they have confronted a shared threat in Iran," AP adds.More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
Conspiracy, illegal gambling, loansharking and drug trafficking among charges unsealed, U.S. attorney says.
We rounded up a mix of gifts that help others, keep folks healthy, and add a little something-something to the home Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
A group of Pennsylvania Republicans filed a lawsuit over the weekend to block certification of the state's election results in an eleventh-hour attempt to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the key battleground state.The emergency petition, filed in state court, takes issue with a voting reform bill that passed Pennsylvania's Republican-held legislature in October last year. The lawsuit claims that the law's allowance of no excuse mail-in voting is "unconstitutional" and seeks to block Pennsylvania counties from certifying their vote results ahead of the deadline on Monday to do so and invalidate millions of mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 election.The group is led by Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who has not conceded since his defeat this month by his Democratic rival, Representative Conor Lamb. Their suit names Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, the GOP-led legislature, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar as defendants.Meanwhile, a federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign that sought to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania and block the certification of the state’s election results. Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday night that he plans to appeal the decision.About 2.6 million voters in Pennsylvania cast mail ballots in the general election this month. Biden won three out of every four mail ballots cast in the state, according to an analysis of data from Pennsylvania's state department.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes over President Trump and is expected to be awarded the Keystone State's coveted 20 electoral votes. States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, and electors will meet on December 14 to formally vote for the next president.Over the past several weeks, Trump has made allegations that voter fraud occurred on a massive scale through mail-in ballots. The president has claimed he won the election and has refused to concede even though his lawyers have not produced evidence of fraud widespread enough to alter the election outcome.
Western Union closed its 407 locations across Cuba on Monday, a sanctions-driven move that will leave thousands bereft of remittances on an island that depends heavily on them — or force them to use less reliable ways to bring in money. The closure of offices that have operated for more than 20 years in Cuba resulted from a barrage of sanctions that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed while courting conservative Cuban-American voters in Florida ahead of the Nov. 3 election. “The problem is not the closure of Western Union, but that Western Union is practically the only U.S.-to-Cuba provider of remittance payments,” said Manuel Orozco, director of the Center for Migration and Economic Stabilization at Creative Associates International, a development-oriented advisory firm in Washington, D.C. “The impact will be felt.”
"The president's slow-moving coup is not going that well," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "This afternoon, the Michigan election board certified Joe Biden's win in that state, then tonight we just learned moments ago that the General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden the administration is ready to begin the formal transition process." That makes it official, he said. "Our next commander in chief will be President Biden. Which means somewhere, right now, Rudy Giuliani is filing a last-ditch legal claim that our current president's name has always been Joe Biden.""With so many people humiliated by the absolute incompetence of his legal team, the president did what had to be done and fired someone named Sidney Powell," Colbert said. "If you don't know who she is, congratulations, now you don't have to know. But I'm going to tell you anyway." And he did.Powell "got kicked off Trump's legal team for being too crazy," Jimmy Fallon marveled at The Tonight show. "That's like getting kicked off of Real Housewives for being too crazy. Seriously, you know how nuts you have to be when Rudy Giuliani's head starts leaking and you're the one who gets fired?""Here's how big of an embarrassment she was to the Trump team," James Corden elaborated at The Late Late Show: "The guy who held a press conference next to a sex shop, and last week had hair dye running down his face, and who wears loafers that look like clown shoes -- that guy, still on the team. But I saw this coming, I did. Any good conspiracy theorist will tell you if you rearrange the letters in Sidney Powell, you get Needy Pillows, which is obviously nod to the MyPillow CEO, who invented coronavirus to destabilize the neck-support industry. I gotta be honest, I spent a lot of time on the internet this weekend.""Trump is concerned that his legal team is made up of fools that are making him look bad," Jimmy Kimmel laughed at Kimmel Live. "They said the same thing about you." Meanwhile, "we still haven't seen the president concede -- we've barely even seen the president," thanks largely to golf, he shrugged. "I've never seen a guy try so hard to keep a job he doesn't even do." Watch another one of Kimmel's "great ideas" to get Trump to leave office below. More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
Decorating mansion will be her final official act as first lady
An ex-police officer alleged to be the leader of the violent La Linea drug cartel in Chihuahua, Mexico, is in custody for the murder of three American mothers and six children including 8-month-old twins, who were killed in a fiery attack on their convoy of SUVs last November.Roberto Gonzalez Montes—known in crime circles as Mudo or El 32—was taken into custody late Monday in a top-secret joint-forces operation carried out by the attorney general’s office without state help out of fear Montes would be tipped off by corrupt officials.The Mexican Cartels vs. a Mormon Sect: Behind the Horrific Massacre of American Moms and ChildrenLast November, attackers fired on a convoy of SUVs carrying 17 mothers and children—all dual Mexican American citizens—as they drove from their compound in Sonora to a wedding in Chihuahua. The cars were riddled with bullets and set on fire, killing nine people. The rest of those in the convoy escaped into desert terrain and hid out until they were rescued.The family members were part of the LeBaron family and belonged to an offshoot Mormon group that settled in the Mexican border state of Sonora half a century ago. They were frequently involved in scuffles with drug cartels who feared they would report illegal activity near their compound to authorities.The victims included Rhonita Miller LeBaron, 30, her son, 13, daughter, 11 and 8-month old twins. Christina and Dawna Langford, 43, and two of Dawna’s children, age 11 and 3 also died. The babies did not suffer gunshot wounds but were burned alive when the perpetrators ignited their vehicles.Mexican authorities have never revealed a motive for the attack. Some have speculated that the family was simply caught in the crossfire of rival cartels as they drove along a rural road. The road ran straight through the territory under the control of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel which at the time was in fierce battles with the La Linea, to which Montes was said to have belonged.The victims’ family instead says the attack was an “ambush” based on accounts by the survivors, including many of the children. In 2009, the LeBaron family took a stand against a cartel in Chihuahua after a 16-year-old member of the community was kidnapped and held for a $1 million ransom. The family refused to pay the ransom and instead waged a public campaign to pressure the government to take action and secure the boy’s release which ultimately happened with no money exchanged.“This was no crossfire,” Alex Le Baron, an elected deputy to the Chihuahua state legislature, told Mexico’s W Radio. “It couldn’t have been a mistake,” he said. “This is terrorism, plain and simple.”Montes’ arrest is the second in a month after Jose Lara was captured in connection with the attack on November 5, the one-year anniversary of the massacre. Two other suspects thought to have ancillary roles were arrested earlier this month. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
President Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the November election in Georgia will “absolutely” hurt Republicans in two U.S. Senate runoff races there, an election official in the state said Monday. “We’ve crossed a tipping point where ... there may be some Republicans who don’t trust the outcomes of the system at all, and say, ‘Why bother to vote,’” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told Yahoo News.
People uneasy over Donald Trump’s obstinance should hope he isn’t inspired by North Carolina sheriff’s shocking example of political defiance.
Two top Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee have asked the Justice Department to declassify notes from an FBI interview of Miles Taylor, who authored the anonymous New York Times op-ed about the resistance to President Trump within his own administration.Taylor was interviewed as a possible witness in the Crossfire Hurricane probe and is identified in briefing notes intended for former FBI director James Comey dated May 1, 2017. It is not clear who wrote the notes, which span eleven pages and are heavily redacted, and were released by the Justice Department on October 30 of this year. Taylor's role in the Flynn probe is also unclear.Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), head of the committee, and colleague Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday requesting the declassification."We request all records relating to the FBI’s interview of Miles Taylor, including all 302s and notes, to better understand his role in the Flynn investigation," Johnson and Grassley wrote.The 2017 briefing notes refer to a "witness interview of Miles Taylor" in connection with Flynn Intel Group, the lobbying firm of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the group's work in Turkey. Taylor was a staffer on the House Committee on Homeland Security at the time, and met with Flynn's firm on several occasions in October 2016. In 2017, Taylor moved to the Department of Homeland Security, where he wrote an anonymousop-ed for the Times touting himself as part of a "resistance" within the Trump administration.Following his win in the 2016 election, President Trump appointed Flynn as national security adviser. Flynn was fired following allegations that he lied to FBI agents investigating suspicions of cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents in 2017.However, after a protracted legal fight, the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is no longer sure Trump will "do the right thing" and acknowledge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he's certain Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20, 2021, he told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday's State of the Union. Hogan, who has been critical of Trump, said he voted for the late President Ronald Reagan this year.Pressuring state legislators in Michigan and other states to "somehow change the outcome with electors was completely outrageous," Hogan said. "We used to go supervise elections around the world, and we were the most respected country with respect to elections. And now we're beginning to look like we're a banana republic. It's time for them to stop the nonsense. It gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly, I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."> Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he is "embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up" regarding President Trumps' refusal to concede https://t.co/2wEl0kWIoX CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/ht8v9oi0O5> > -- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 22, 2020John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, was also critical of both Trump and his Republican Party, but he did offer some advice to those Republican officials scared of Trump. "Look, for those who are worried about Trump's reaction, there's strength in numbers," he said. "The more who come out and say, 'He doesn't represent us, he is not following a Republican game plan here,' the safer they will be." > "The Republican Party is not going to be saved by hiding in a spider hole. We need all of our leaders to come out and say, 'the election is over.' We're not talking about an abstract right for Trump to use his legal remedies. We've past that," John Bolton says. CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/pUFsiFj7PC> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 22, 2020More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
Outgoing Republican Steve King has long history of offensive remarks
An officer revealed Monday Canadian police obtained the security code to Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's Vancouver house -- not merely passcodes to her electronic devices, which defense lawyers allege violated her rights.
I live in a democracy. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself longing for the type of freedom I am seeing in China. People in China are able to move around freely right now. Many Americans may believe that the Chinese are able to enjoy this freedom because of China’s authoritarian regime. As a scholar of public health in China, I think the answers go beyond that.My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century. How China flattened its curveBarely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people. In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again. Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone. In September and October, friends from China sent me pictures of food from all over the country as they traveled around to visit friends and family for the mid-autumn festival and then the seven-day National Day vacation week. I envied them then and envy them even more now as Americans prepare and wonder how we will celebrate Thanksgiving this year. What China learned from SARSWe Americans are told that the freedoms Chinese now enjoy come at the expense of being subject to a set of draconian public health policies that can be instituted only by an authoritarian government. But they also have the experience of living through a similar epidemic.SARS broke out in November of 2002 and ended in May of 2003, and China was anything but prepared for its emergence. It didn’t have the public health infrastructure in place to detect or control such a disease, and initially decided to prioritize politics and economy over health by covering up the epidemic. This didn’t work with such a virulent disease that started spreading around the world. After being forced to come to terms with SARS, China’s leaders eventually did enforce quarantine in Beijing and canceled the week-long May Day holiday of 2003. This helped to end the pandemic within a few short months, with minimal impact. SARS infected approximately 8,000 worldwide and killed about 800, 65% of which occurred in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese government learned from SARS the important role public health plays in protecting the nation. Following SARS, the government improved training of public health professionals and developed one of the most sophisticated disease surveillance systems in the world. While caught off guard for this next big coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, the country quickly mobilized its resources to bring the epidemic almost to a halt inside its borders within three months. What can the US learn from China?Knowing that there were no safe or proven treatments or an effective vaccine, China relied on proven nonpharmaceutical interventions to conquer the epidemic. First and foremost was containing the virus through controlling the sources of infection and blocking transmission. This was accomplished through early detection (testing), isolation, treatment and tracing the close contacts of any infected individual. This strategy was aided by the three field hospitals (fancang) the government built to isolate patients with mild to moderate symptoms from their families. Strict quarantine measures were also central to preventing the spread of this epidemic, as it was with the SARS epidemic in 2003. This was paired with compulsory mask-wearing, promotion of personal hygiene (hand-washing, home disinfection, ventilation), self-monitoring of body temperature, universal compulsory stay-at-home orders for all residents, and universal symptom surveys conducted by community workers and volunteers. What else could the US have done to be prepared?SARS exposed serious weaknesses in China’s public health system and prompted its government to reinvent its public health system. COVID-19 has exposed similar shortcomings in the U.S. public health system. To date, however, the current administration has taken the exact opposite approach, devastating our public health system. The Trump administration made major cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The last budget submitted by the Trump administration in February 2020, as the pandemic was beginning, called for an additional reduction of US$693 million to the CDC budget. This affected our ability to prepare for a pandemic outbreak. In the past, this preparation included international partnerships to help detect disease before it reached our shores. For example, the CDC built up partnerships with China following the SARS epidemic, to help contain the emergence of infectious disease coming from the region. At one point the CDC had 10 American experts working on the ground in China and 40 local Chinese staff, who mostly concentrated on infectious disease. Trump started slashing these positions shortly after taking office, and by the time COVID-19 broke out, those programs were whittled down to a skeleton staff of one or two. [Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s new science newsletter.]The Declaration of Alma Ata guaranteed health for all, and not just health for people governed under a specific type of bureaucratic system. The U.S. has been, and can be, just as dedicated to protecting the health of its people as China under its authoritarian government. We demonstrated this during the Ebola epidemic, with the launch of a whole government effort coordinated by Ron Klain, who has been appointed White House chief of staff under President-elect Biden.This effort, which included a coordinated response with both African nations and China, improved preparedness within the U.S. and ultimately helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. A reduction in funding for our public health infrastructure, under the Trump administration, was a divestment in the health of the American people and should not have happened. A new administration that places public health at the helm, once again, will I hope prove to us that health is not just something that can be protected under an authoritarian government, but is in fact a right for all.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University.Read more: * Poor US pandemic response will reverberate in health care politics for years, health scholars warn * Experts agree that Trump’s coronavirus response was poor, but the US was ill-prepared in the first placeElanah Uretsky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging residents to call the police on any neighbors who flout state COVID-19 restrictions, which include limiting in-home gatherings to a maximum of six people.“This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance.”Last week the Democratic governor instituted a new round of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state via executive order, including a two-week “freeze” limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from no more than two households just ahead of Thanksgiving. Residents are also prohibited from eating out at restaurants and going to the gym, though faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are allowed.Violators can face up to 30 days in jail, $1,250 fines or both. The Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday that it believes “we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”“We believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”Brown pushed back, calling criticisms of the new restrictions "irresponsible."“This is about saving lives and it's about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she said. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can't trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”On Sunday, new COVID-19 cases reached a record high in the state for the third straight day, with 1,517 new infections recorded, bringing the state total to 65,170.
The Donald Trump phenomenon is purported to have divided friendships, families, and even marriages. I can attest to this fact in my own suburban Washington household, for this perhaps peculiar professional reason: It has occasioned my wife, the longtime sufferer of all my hot takes, to ask approximately one-thousand times whether I finally feel bad about all the mean things I said about Mitt Romney.The short answer is, yes!Romney, now the junior senator of Utah, has displayed rare courage and integrity throughout this hell-year. Alone among Republican senators (indeed, alone among any senator in history), he crossed party lines to vote to convict President Trump on the charge of abusing his power by pressuring a foreign government to interfere in our election. And — not alone, exactly, but hardly in plentiful company — he has forthrightly condemned the president for stonewalling the Biden transition and undermining our democracy.These actions have taken real guts. If I were wearing a cap, I would doff it; if I were to meet Romney in person, I would thank him. With this virtual pen in hand, I am applauding him.However: The long answer to the above question is … Heck no!Let me explain why I’m torn.First, it’s essential to remember how radically different our political landscape looked in the Before Times. The outright bigotry and racism of the 2016 Trump campaign had not yet been contemplated, let alone assimilated; for decades, those things were hinted at, dog-whistled, wink-winked — but they were not, in any overt sense, options on the menu given to Republican primary voters. Consequently, it needs to be said that it’s silly to retroactively credit figures in the party for not behaving that badly.So, what was it that bugged me so badly about mainstream, milquetoast Mitt?In 2007 and 2008, Romney, then the moderate one-term governor of Massachusetts (as well as the son of a famously moderate governor of Michigan) ran a primary campaign that was, I still maintain, preposterous. It was predicated on the notion that frontrunner John McCain (who, after a tumultuous summer in ’07, eventually won the GOP nomination) was too moderate. He compromised too often with Democrats (with Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform; with Ted Kennedy on immigration; with Joe Lieberman on climate change).I understand the imperatives of strategy in winning a primary, when you must appeal to the base before pivoting to the center. But — as I said then and will say again now — I refuse to listen to such an appeal from mainstream milquetoast Mitt. He did not play the Mr. Conservative act lightly; he played it, as he plays everything, stiffly. The act failed. It deserved to fail.Then came 2012. Romney was now something of a frontrunner. He had lost the 2008 primary — but so had McCain, badly, in the general election against President Obama. It was now, in the sequential custom of Republican politics, “Mitt Romney’s turn.” So now he was the one who had to beat back attempts to protect his right flank. Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee (am I forgetting anyone? It feels like I’m forgetting someone!) — they all took their shots at Romney; they all exposed weaknesses or wounded him; and they all, one after the other, failed as he had four years before.Without aid of Google, I remember calling Romney a “rancid imposter” (yikes!). With aid of Google, I see that I called his 2012 campaign “breathtakingly cynical, borderline nihilistic” (I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!). I haven’t forgotten about the catastrophic 47 percent video. And I sure haven’t forgotten about the way Romney comported himself in the first innings of the Benghazi fiasco (reminder: He really was breathtakingly cynical).But, with the benefit of both hindsight and five years of Donald Trump, here’s what I’ve come to appreciate about Mitt Romney, a man of obvious high character and basic decency, that wasn’t clear to me then, but should have been: He was trying to hold together a party that was morally coming apart at the seams. Indeed, Romney could see for himself that it was thirsting for a demagogue very like Trump (whose endorsement, it must be noted, Romney accepted). “It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments,” he said in February 2012. “We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you’re going to jump up in the polls. You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.”It took guts to say that then. I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. I should have.When the notional threat of Trump became a reality in 2016, Romney, again, took a stand. In March of that fateful year, Romney warned against nominating a “con man, a fake.” Every word of the speech was born out by the reality of the Trump administration. Not just the bits about Trump’s warped character — but the red flags over Trump’s desire for a trade war and his embrace of prodigious debt.Of course, Romney being Romney, he sullied his righteous stand by agreeing to dine with Trump during the transition, under the guise of possibly being nominated for secretary of state. Predictably, Romney was humiliated. But that was the last time.Very much on his own shingle, Romney won a Senate seat in Utah. From there, he has become one of the bravest and most constructive voices in Republican politics. And while I may regret the excessive tone of some of my criticisms of Mitt Romney’s past, I can say that I look forward to applauding him more often in the future.“Sorry, Mitt”? Not quite.Instead: Go, Mitt, go!More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon get why Trump's legal team couldn't steal Biden's presidency