But one surprise reaction came from a fellow Utahn: singer-songwriter Ritt Momney.
“I’ll be nothing without u Mitt,” Jack Rutter, who uses the stage name “Ritt Momney,” told the Deseret News. “Don’t have much else to say.”
Rutter began using the spoonerism “Ritt Momney” in high school, when he and his friends at Salt Lake City’s East High School formed a band. Rutter launched a solo career in his late teens.
Rutter’s cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s 2006 pop hit “Put Your Records On” went viral via TikTok makeup tutorials in 2020, earning Rutter a place atop Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and a contract with Columbia Records.
During a nationwide tour last year, Rutter performed in Washington, D.C., where he arranged a visit to Romney’s office. The senator greeted the singer and several of his bandmates, and they were treated to a tour of the Capitol building.
“They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” Romney tweeted after the meeting. “Enjoyed meeting @RittMomney and his band today. I wish them all the best!”
“There’s no reason, man,” Rutter told me when I asked why they chose the name “Ritt Momney.” “We were high school kids. It was sort of a subversion — a ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ sort of thing,” he said. “At this point, it’s whatever.”
Romney announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection after his current Senate term comes to an end in January 2025. In a conversation with the Deseret News, Romney said “we need the next generation to step forward.” Romney, 76, would be in his mid-80s by the time he finished a second term.
Rutter said he respects Romney, though the two have divergent political views. “The way I see it, it’s, like, cool of him to stand up to (former president Donald) Trump,” Rutter said. “But if that’s the standard, I don’t think we’re doing super well.”