President Trump hit back at former presidential candidate and Utah senator Mitt Romney, after Romney trashed the president’s character in a Washington Post op-ed. Trump jeered that he “won big, and he didn’t.”
“Here we go with Mitt Romney,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “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!”
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
In a floridly written op-ed published Tuesday, Romney praised Trump’s boilerplate republican policies: tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks, and appointment of conservative judges. With that out of the way, the Utah Republican went on to bash Trump’s abrasive personality, declaring that “the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
“A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels,’” the failed 2012 candidate continued. “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.”
Romney, who joins the Senate on Thursday, vowed to oppose any of Trump’s actions that he deems “divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions” – a raft of buzzwords that could have come from the mouth of any given Democrat.
Indeed, the article was well received by liberals on Twitter, and fuelled speculation that Romney is preparing to mount a challenge to Trump from within the GOP in 2020. However, the one-time presidential contender has not yet hinted at such a move.
Mitt Romney will deliver solemn sermons after especially crass Trump tweets, Morning Joe will squeal with affirmation and joy, he will bask in the pointless 2020 speculation, and nothing constructive will result. That’s the obvious function of Mitt Romney
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 2, 2019
Will Romney be the Eugene McCarthy of 2020 and run against Trump? If he loses he still has 4 more years in the Senate. Mitt has nothing to lose. https://t.co/w68667BRGV
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) January 2, 2019
Anti-Trump op-eds are hardly a rare sight on the pages of the Washington Post, and Romney himself has spoken out against Trump before. However, the pair have had an on-off relationship for several years, and Romney has swung between criticism and sycophancy for the president in that time.
Back in 2012, Romney graciously accepted Trump’s endorsement for his presidential campaign, praising the then-magnate and TV celebrity for his “extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs.” Four years later, the favor wasn’t returned, with Romney calling candidate Trump “a phony” who was “playing members of the American public for suckers.”
Romney changed his tune after Trump’s surprise win, calling the president to congratulate him and meeting with him to discuss a potential job as secretary of state, a position that eventually went to Rex Tillerson instead. With relations warmer, Trump gave Romney’s bid for the Senate his “full support and endorsement” last year.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
Now though, Romney seems to have reverted to his 2016 position on Trump. His op-ed was welcomed by anti-Trump figures from both parties, but blasted by Trump supporters. Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, accused Romney of “jealousy” and said that he “lacked the ability to save this nation,” while Trump “has saved it.”
Even Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chairwoman and Romney’s niece, took the president’s side. “POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7,” McDaniel tweeted on Wednesday. “For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realDonaldTrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive.”
POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive. https://t.co/ArhI7Bi7bo
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 2, 2019
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