President Donald Trump has fired back at Mitt Romney — the Senator-elect from Utah who will be sworn into the Senate on Thursday — after the former Republican presidential nominee wrote an op-ed Tuesday evening blasting Trump and his administration.
What did Romney say?
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Romney wrote Trump's "conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office."
It's not that Trump's policies are bad, Romney explained, but rather it's his character.
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow "our better angels." A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring.
To compound the problem, Romney said, is the fact the world is looking to America for leadership on various issues, a responsibility Romney believes Trump has failed to take seriously.
"Trump's words and actions have caused dismay around the world," Romney wrote. "In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would 'do the right thing in world affairs.' One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent."
Later in the op-ed, Romney declared the "world needs American leadership." But "to reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home."
How will Romney act toward Trump as a senator?
Romney said he doesn't plan to completely oppose Trump as senator. In fact, he plans to "act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not."
"I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault," Romney wrote. "But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions."
How did Trump respond?
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump questioned whether Romney would be a "Flake" as senator — a reference to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who just retired from the Senate — while urging him to be "a TEAM player & WIN!"
Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn't. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2019