As Sen. Mitt Romney (R–UT) announced he would not be running for reelection yesterday, a "very disturbing" message he sent to Mitch McConnell on Jan. 2, 2021 in which he warned about the deadly Capitol insurrection that was about to occur was published in The Atlantic.
"In case you have not heard this, I just got a call from [Sen.] Angus King [I–ME] who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th," Romney reportedly texted to the then Senate Majority Leader, according to an excerpt of a new biography, Romney: A Reckoning, by author McKay Coppins, released on Wednesday in The Atlantic.
"There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require."
Romney was responding to a phone call he had had with Sen. King, who first left Romney a message: "Could you give me a call when you get a chance? Important."
The excerpt also paraphrases the frantic phone call between the two Senators. From the Atlantic:
Romney calls, and King informs him of a conversation he's just had with a high-ranking Pentagon official. Law enforcement has been tracking online chatter among right-wing extremists who appear to be planning something bad on the day of Donald Trump's upcoming rally in Washington, D.C. The president has been telling them the election was stolen; now they're coming to steal it back. There's talk of gun smuggling, of bombs and arson, of targeting the traitors in Congress who are responsible for this travesty. Romney's name has been popping up in some frightening corners of the internet, which is why King needed to talk to him. He isn't sure Romney will be safe.
But, as we all know, McConnell did nothing with this information. "Sufficient security plans" were clearly lacking. In fact, McConnell never even responded to Romney, according to the excerpt.
From the excerpt via the Atlantic:
He thought about the text message he'd sent to McConnell a few days earlier explicitly warning of this scenario. How were they not ready for this? It was, in some ways, a perfect metaphor for his party's timorous, shortsighted approach to the Trump era. As a boy, he'd read Idylls of the King with his mother; now he could understand the famous quote from Tennyson's Guinevere as she witnesses the consequences of corruption in Arthur's court: "This madness has come on us for our sins."
The only real surprise about Romney's announcement yesterday is that it didn't come a lot sooner.