Politics

Romney says Trump hasn't 'risen to the mantle' of presidency

Senator-elect pens fiery WaPo op-ed

(CNN) - Sen.-elect Mitt Romney said Tuesday in an op-ed published in The Washington Post that President Donald Trump's behavior since taking office "is evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office."

"It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not," Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, wrote in the opinion piece, adding that several of Trump's Cabinet appointments had been "encouraging."

"But, 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," he wrote.

Related: Mitt Romney is running for Senate as a friend and foe of Donald Trump

Romney has been a vocal critic of the President during Trump's campaign and first two years in office, although the two had appeared to mend fences after Trump was elected. They were photographed dining together as Trump mulled making Romney his secretary of state, and the President endorsed Romney's Senate bid last year.

Romney wrote in Tuesday's op-ed that he agreed with some of the policy changes Trump has championed. "But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency," he wrote.

"A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. ... And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring."

Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, responded to Romney's piece in a tweet Tuesday evening, writing that the incoming senator from Utah "lacked the ability to save this nation" while Trump "has saved it."

"Jealously is a drink best served warm and Romney just proved it. So sad, I wish everyone had the courage (Trump) had," Parscale wrote.

Romney also said in the piece that Trump's presidency has weakened America's influence abroad, writing that "Trump's words and actions have caused dismay around the world."

"The world needs American leadership, and it is in America's interest to provide it," he wrote.

Romney, who is set to take office Thursday, said he looks forward to tackling important issues with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, as well as other senators, adding that he "will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not."

As for Trump, Romney said he does not "intend to comment on every tweet or fault."

"But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions," he wrote.


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