SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney doesn’t share President Donald Trump’s concern that voting by mail would increase voter fraud in the November election, calling it a “political calculation.”
Also during a videoconference hosted by the Sutherland Institute, the Utah Republican said he would have preferred that China not be chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Romney said he has seen no evidence of voter fraud and worries more about potential hacking of electronic voting systems. He said he believes voting by mail is more secure than electronic voting and that the federal government should give money to states that need to improve their mail-in process.
“I’ve heard some people say the reason the president doesn’t want people to vote by mail is that polls show that people who want to vote by mail tend to vote for Vice President Biden. “People who tend to want to vote in person tend to want to vote for President Trump, and so this is a political calculation,” he said.
Romney touched on a variety of topics, particularly China, during the question-and-answer session with the Salt Lake City-based public policy think tank.
The government should make every effort to assure that people who want to vote get the chance to cast a ballot, he said.
“That’s more important even than the outcome of the vote,” Romney said. “We have got to preserve the principles of democracy or the trend we’re on is going to continue to get worse.”
Romney continued to sound the alarm over China as an emerging nation looking to dominate the world while the U.S. and other countries have been asleep to the threat. He said the International Olympic Committee made a “mistake” in awarding the 2022 Games to Beijing.
“But once that decision is made, I’m willing to go there,” said Romney, who headed the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games. And the U.S. and other countries “ought to do our very best while we’re in China” to tell the Chinese people that they support their desire for freedom, a free press and absence of repression.
“Let’s see if we can take a bad situation and make it a more positive outcome,” he said.
China aims to replace the United States as the world’s economic, military and geopolitical leader, Romney said.
“They intend to become the world’s superpower,” he said.
The U.S. is facing something different with China than it did with the former Soviet Union where socialism failed, Romney said.
“They’re a lot smarter than the old Soviets were,” he said. “Frankly, we’re not looking as smart as we need to be.”
China has caught on that capitalism works, Romney said, noting it is buying industries all over the globe to tie up materials for manufacturing and national defense. Indonesia, which supplies 80% of the world’s nickel needed to make stainless steel, halted nickel sales outside the country after China bought a stainless steel company there.
“China does this industry after industry and we, the rest of the world, sit there with our mouths hanging open not knowing what to do,” he said. “What we do is don’t allow China to sell those products into our marketplace.”
Romney applauded Trump for being tough on China, but said the president needs to bring in U.S. allies to help combat Chinese economic aggression rather than alienate them. He said he doesn’t see much of a game plan coming from the U.S. or other countries.
“We’re doing the opposite of what we need to be doing, Romney said.