On Twitter: Trump and his fiercest critic Romney friends again

Trump has weathered tough criticism from Romney, who referred to the then-presidential candidate as "a phony, a fraud" in a March 2016 speech.

The Senate candidate even included some thinly veiled Trump attacks in last week's campaign launch, saying, "Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world, Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion".

When Romney formally announced his Utah senate race Friday, he spoke at odds with the Trump administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric.

"I call them like I see them".

Romney is aiming to replace 83-year-old Sen. "He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!"

"MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. At age 70, that may not be three or four terms, but it may well be two", he said.

Romney's response (also on Twitter): "Thank you Mr. President for the support".

Romney says the memo "was a complete surprise", but he decided that he can fight for Utah more than the average junior senator could and feels that the country needs people of "sober judgment" in Washington.

Still, Romney, a former MA governor and wealthy business executive, would come to Capitol Hill with a higher profile than a typical freshman senator.

That reality was made clear by immediate reactions to his announcement from across the political spectrum.

But McConnell's call for Trump to back Romney stems from seeing his as a pretty sure-fire Republican win in a 2018 midterms that might prove challenging for the ruling party. He is widely known in the state for rescuing Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Games. Lindsey Graham who have now become allies. About 60 per cent of Utah's residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We go into this clear-eyed that this is going to be quite a challenging election". Can anyone forget his audition - and rejection - to be Trump's Secretary of State during the transition?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dine at Jean Georges restaurant, November 29, 2016 in New York City.

Barrow reported from Atlanta.

Amid intense conservative opposition to the national law, however, Romney distanced himself during his 2012 campaign from his MA accomplishments, arguing that he had pursued a state solution that wasn't appropriate at the federal level.

  • Tracy Klein