Mitt Romney, the former GOP presidential candidate and the incoming senator of Utah, has slammed President Trump in an op-ed for the Washington Post. Romney said that Trump has failed to live up to the office he was elected for. He wrote in the post’s article that even though there are a lot of the president’s policies that could work for the United States, his character, or lack of it, has made it difficult for him to push anything through. The former GOP presidential candidate argues that this is hurting the country a lot.
Romney added that the presidency is supposed to be a uniting force for the country. It shapes the character of an entire nation and if it fails to live up to these expectations, it becomes very hard for other regular citizens to follow suit. He noted that in the current political climate where according to him Americans are divided, resentful, and angry, presidential leadership that taps into the spirit of the American people is needed to steady the ship. But that has been lacking so far with Trump. In fact, the president looks like he has done more to fan the flames of division and resentment in the US.
Romney pointed out that the respect that the US once had as a global leader is rapidly falling apart under the Trump administration. The incoming US senator was also quick to observe that the resignations of chief of staff John Kelly and secretary of defense James Mattis were a new low for the White House. He argued that these were perhaps two of the most experienced and sober individuals in this administration and their departure could extinguish any small hope of stability moving forward.
However, the president did respond to the op-ed in a tweet sent on Wednesday. Trump questioned whether Romney is a “flake”, ironically referring to the retiring US senator from Arizona Jeff Flake. Flake has been one of the key dissenting voices in the Republican Party that has criticized the president and his style of leadership. But the relationship between Romney and Trump has been testy for the last few years. When the former Governor of Massachusetts decided to run for the top office under the Republican ticket in 2012, Trump endorsed him and called him a strong and smart man. But Romney didn’t return the favor when Trump launched his campaign in 2016. In fact, the incoming Utah senator delivered a stern rebuke of Trump calling him “phony” and a “bully.”
When president Trump got elected, the two decided to bury the hatchet and were in good terms for the better part of the last two years. But this will change no doubt. It’s very likely that Romney will follow in the steps of Jeff Flake and the late John McCain. The op-ed on the Washington Post is the clearest indication at the moment that Romney is ready to face off with Trump in areas he thinks the president is falling short. Romney was elected in Utah even though he had expressed criticism over Trump’s immigration policies before he went for the GOP ticket.