Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) took a shot at President Donald Trump Tuesday, lobbing a veiled accusation that the president has gotten “cozy” with dictators such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen with my party. I represent a very small slice of my party. The party has taken a different course. My party was very strong anti-dictators, anti-authoritarian leaders, anti people like Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin, and now the party seems to be more comfortable with people like that,” Romney stated during a webcast hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“You can’t cozy up to the world’s worst actors and expect the world’s best actors to consider you the leader of the world anymore, so I think we’ll wake up to that but it may take a while before we get there,” he added.
In June 2018, President Trump and Kim met in Singapore and signed a joint-statement pledging to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The president and North Korean dictator met again in February 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam, though their summit ended without an agreement on how to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program. Trump and Kim shook hands at demilitarized zone in June 2019.
Later in his remarks, Romney criticized the U.S.’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“The world perception is the authoritarian regimes have dealt with COVID far more effectively than we have and that other democracies have dealt with COVID far more effectively than we have,” he said. “Obviously, that’s dented our leadership role. But I do believe that the world still recognizes that we are really the only nation that can convene other great nations of the world to come together and work collaboratively.”
“If they see leadership from the White House that is anxious to do that, they will welcome it and they will tsk, tsk our management of COVID-19, as well they should,” he added. “But the world wants American leadership. It is crying out for America to lead on the great issues of our time.”
Romney was the sole Republican senator to vote to convict President Trump in the Senate’s impeachment trial.