Failed presidential candidate and soon-to-be-sworn-in U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) took to the Washington Post on Jan. 1 to slam President Donald Trump on New Year’s Day.
“The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December,” Romney opened his op-ed Tuesday.
He acknowledged his opposition to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, claimed that he had early hope for Trump’s presidency, then lamented that “on balance, his 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.”
Romney acknowledged that Trump had enacted “policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years.” He praised aligning “U.S. corporate taxes with those of global competitors,” deregulation, cracking down on China’s “unfair” trade practices, criminal justice reform, and appointments of conservative judges.
But he went on to assail Trump’s character: “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.”
Moving on to American economic and military leadership in the world, Romney said, “Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world,” citing poll data.
“To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home,” Romney charged. “That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us. It includes political parties promoting policies that strengthen us rather than promote tribalism by exploiting fear and resentment.”
Romney called for “setting a course to a balanced budget” and linking arms with other nations. He suggested, as the U.K. moves to leave the European Union, “We want a unified and strong Europe, not a disintegrating union. We want stable relationships with the nations of Asia that strengthen our mutual security and prosperity.”
The failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor relentlessly lambasted Trump during the 2016 presidential election. When time came for the 2018 midterm elections and Romney made his way to Utah to run for the U.S. Senate, president Trump chose to endorse him — and Romney accepted.
Romney looked forward in the op-ed to working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), but warned that when it comes to the president, “I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
The incoming U.S. Senator for Utah is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday.