Profiles in expediency: 'Dumb' Romney welcomes endorsement of 'con man' Trump

On Monday night, President Trump endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Romney accepted, and on its face this seems like a normal exchange of support and gracious acceptance between two prominent politicians: one the sitting president and the other the former presidential candidate who is considered an overwhelming favorite. But the relationship between Trump and Romney — who has been criticized for having particularly malleable positions — has followed a long and tortuous path to this point, and more twists and turns likely lie ahead. Here is a timeline of the more head-snapping reversals in recent years:

Feb. 2, 2012: Trump endorses Romney for president. “There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life,” said Romney during a visit to Las Vegas. “This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I’m so honored and pleased to have his endorsement.”

“It’s my honor, real honor, and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney,” said Trump. “And by the way, this is a great couple. Do you look at this couple?”

March 28, 2012: Fox News floats the idea of Trump as a potential running mate for Romney.

RELATED: Mitt Romney through the years

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Mitt Romney through the years
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Mitt Romney through the years
Mitt Romney campaigning for US Senate against Senator Ted Kennedy in Boston, MA in 1994. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) in an archive family photo with his father George (C) and his brother Scott in 1965, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an archive family photo with his now wife Ann Davis in 1964. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
US Senate candidate Mitt Romney speaking at senior center in Chelsea, MA in 1994. Romney is challenging Senator Ted Kennedy. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an archive family photo at age 11, in 1958. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an archive family photo with his father George in their Michigan family home in 1957. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
Mitt Romney, candidate for US Senate from MA, with his wife Ann Romney after receiving the endorsement of the Boston Police Patrolman's Association in Boston, MA in October 24,1994. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - FEBRUARY 9: Mitt Romney, Chairman of the Salt Lake City Olympics Organizing Committee on the first night at the Medals Ceremonies in The Medals Plaza. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
399749 01: Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) President and CEO Mitt Romney speaks about the upcoming 2002 Olympic Winter Games at a press conference January 16, 2002 at SLOC Headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. The winter games begin February 8, 2002. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
8 Feb 2002: President and CEO of SLOC Mitt Romney chats with President George W. Bush during the Opening Ceremony at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 11: Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney listens to a reporter's question during a news conference prior to the legislature's Constitutional Convention to consider a proposed amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman February 11, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The proposed amendment, supported by Governor Mitt Romney, was drafted in response to a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage constitutional. (Photo by Michael Springer/Getty Images)
BOSTON - DECEMBER 17: On the way to Revere to hold a press conference about housing, Gov. Mitt Romney enjoys his ride on the Blue Line. (Photo by Janet Knott/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOLYOKE - JANUARY 9: Eighth grade student Tirsa Romero at the John J. Lynch Middle School sits behind Gov. Mitt Romney and State Education Commissioner David Driscoll, left, as they view a video that the governor brought to show the 400 students that gathered for his appearance. The governor talked to the students about the choices you make in life and the video was about Olympic Gold Medal skier Janica Kostelic, of Croatia, and how she over came injuries and the dedication she had to her training that rewarded her with a Gold Medal at the Utah Olympics. (Photo by Tom Landers/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JULY 3: Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney shakes hands with members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir prior to their rehearsal for the 4th of July show at the Hatch Shell Thursday evening. (Photo by David Kamerman/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigning with his wife Anne Romney at the Granite Oath PAC's 2011 Presidential Candidate Reception at the home of Ovide and Bettie Lamontagne in Manchester, NH on August 12, 2011 (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigning with his wife Anne Romney at the Granite Oath PAC's 2011 Presidential Candidate Reception at the home of Ovide and Bettie Lamontagne in Manchester, NH on August 12, 2011 (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann greet supporters at a campaign rally after the conclusion of the Iowa Caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images)
GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters as his wife Ann and four of his five sons watch at a campaign rally after the conclusion of the Iowa Caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks after receiving the endorsement of former primary rival Mitt Romney, right, at Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts February 14, 2008. Romney asked his 200-plus delegates to vote for McCain at the Republican convention this summer. REUTERS/Neal Hamberg (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Former Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during the third session of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) laughs with his grandson Parker Mitt Romney, 18 months, as he campaigns at the William D. Ford Senior Center in Taylor, Michigan January 13, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich share a laugh during a break in the Republican presidential candidates debate in Charleston, South Carolina, January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa December 30, 2011, ahead of the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann gather before the start of their debate in Ames, Iowa August 11, 2011 REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds a baby in the audience at a campaign stop at Centro Incorporated in North Liberty, Iowa December 28, 2011. The Iowa Caucus will be held on January 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) introduces U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his vice-presidential running mate during a campaign event at the retired battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia, August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) looks on during the Republican presidential candidates debate in Mesa, Arizona, February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney kisses his wife Ann at his Illinois primary night rally in Schaumburg, Illinois, March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hands Madison Busch, 1, to her mother after a campaign event at an RV dealer in Loveland, Colorado February 7, 2012. The Colorado caucuses take place today. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama speak directly to each other during the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and vice-presidential nominee U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave to the crowd at a campaign rally in Fishersville, Virginia October 4, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) shakes hands with President Barack Obama at the start of the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate in Denver October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney watches the Vice Presidential debate in his hotel room in Asheville, North Carolina October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney waves as he arrives onstage to accept the nomination during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Former Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticizes current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former Massachusetts Governor and two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield stare down during their weigh-in before their boxing match in Holladay, Utah May 14, 2015. The two will box on Friday to benefit the medical charity CharityVision. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney after their meeting at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and his choice for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) at Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney looks up at people waving to him from an open window after meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 18: Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney attends the game between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz on October 18, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks after a dinner meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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May 29, 2012: Trump hosts a fundraiser for Romney at his hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Trump had hosted a fundraiser for the birthday of Romney’s wife Ann at his Fifth Avenue home in April, but the joint public appearance was a big deal. Raising an estimated $2 million, the event came just hours after Trump had questioned President Barack Obama’s birth certificate on CNN, saying, “A lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate.”

Aug. 2012: Romney officially receives the Republican nomination for president. Trump was scheduled to visit the convention in Tampa, and according to the Washington Post, was set to do a “surprise” publicity stunt on the convention floor at Romney’s request. Trump is unable to travel due to Hurricane Isaac.

Nov. 6, 2012: Romney loses the presidential election.

Nov. 8, 2012: Trump tweets: “Romney campaign used me in 6 primary states and won every one- they should have used me in Florida and Ohio & he would be President.”

June 16, 2015: Trump declares his candidacy for president.

September 1, 2015: As Trump gains momentum in the Republican primary race, New York Magazine reports that Romney is considering getting into the race to combat Trump. “He’s someone to whom civility means a lot. The whole Trump thing really bothers him,” said a close Romney adviser.

February 2016: Trump bashes Romney as “goofy,” “awkward” and “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics.”

March 3, 2016: Romney delivers a lengthy speech at the University of Utah criticizing Trump.

“Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities,” said Romney. “The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.”

“There’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake,” continued the GOP’s 2012 presidential candidate. “Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign. And on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row.”

“If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement,” adds Romney on Twitter.

Trump responds:“Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?”

March 7, 2016: Romney records a phone message for Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

March 14, 2016: Romney campaigns with Governor Josh Kasich in Ohio.

March 18, 2016: Romney announces his intention to vote for Senator Ted Cruz in the Utah nominating caucus.

May 11, 2016: Romney posts to Facebook criticizing Trump for not releasing his tax returns. “It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service,” writes Romney.

RELATED: A look at Romney meeting Trump

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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) greet former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) as he arrives for their meeting at the the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: President-elect Donald Trump (C) and vice president-elect Mike Pence (R) welcome Mitt Romney (L) to the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump welcomes Mitt Romney as he arrives for a day of meetings at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 19, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence welcome Mitt Romney as he arrives for a day of meetings at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 19, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: President-elect Donald Trump (L) and vice president-elect Mike Pence (R) welcome Mitt Romney (C) to the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) welcome Mitt Romney as he arrives for a day of meetings at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 19, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
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October 7, 2016: Romney responds to the leaked Access Hollywood tape where Trump seemingly admitted to sexual harassment by writing on Twitter, “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”

November 8, 2016: Trump wins the presidential election.

November 19, 2016: Reportedly under consideration for secretary of state, Romney visits Trump at his golf resort in New Jersey. The two shake hands and afterward Romney says they had a “very thorough and in-depth discussion.”

November 29, 2016: Romney goes to dinner with Trump. Afterwards, he praises his dining companion to gathered reporters.

“I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump,” said Romney. “We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. I’ve enjoyed them very, very much. I was also very impressed by the remarks he made on his victory night.”

A photo of the meeting with a seemingly very uncomfortable Romney goes viral.

December 12, 2016: Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is announced as the pick for secretary of state.

Trump adviser Roger Stone says that Trump never really considered Romney for a cabinet position but simply wanted to embarrass him.

“Donald Trump was interviewing Mitt Romney for Secretary of State in order to torture him,” Stone said during an Infowars appearance. “To toy with him. And given the history, that’s completely understandable.”

“It was an honor to have been considered for Secretary of State of our great country,” writes Romney on Facebook. “My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace.

August 18, 2017: After Trump fails to condemn white supremacists for the death of demonstrator Heather Heyer at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Romney condemns the president’s remarks.

“Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” said Romney. “His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.”

January 15, 2018: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Romney criticizes Trump for the use of the term “shithole countries.” “The poverty of an aspiring immigrant’s nation of origin is as irrelevant as their race,” writes Romney. “The sentiment attributed to POTUS is inconsistent w/ America’s history and antithetical to American values. May our memory of Dr. King buoy our hope for unity, greatness, & ‘charity for all.’”

February 16, 2018: Romney announces he is running for Senate.

February 19, 2018: Trump endorses Romney, writing, “[Romney] will make a great Senator and worthy successor to Orrin Hatch, and has my full support and endorsement.”

35 minutes later, Romney accepts the endorsement: “Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.”

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