Utah Senator-elect Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post assailing President Donald Trump’s “character.”
The article, titled “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short,” was published on Tuesday, just two days before Romney assumes office as Utah’s junior Senator. In the piece, Romney argues that while he doesn’t take issue with “all of the president’s policies,” his conduct “has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
Romney made his initial diagnosis after citing several early appointments that gave him hope — such as that of Rex Tillerson, Nikki Haley, and John Kelly — followed by recent key resignations and Trump’s proposed Syria withdrawal.
“[O]n 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 wrote. (RELATED: Jerry Falwell Jr: It’s ‘Immoral’ For Evangelicals To Not Support President Trump)
The Senator-elect listed several things the president has gotten “right,” but then argued that those things are only a part of the picture.
It is not that all of the president’s policies have been misguided. He was right to align U.S. corporate taxes with those of global competitors, to strip out excessive regulations, to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, to reform criminal justice and to appoint conservative judges. These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years. But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency.
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. 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.
After an explanation of policy positions he prefers, Romney pledged to “support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not.”
Finally, the former GOP presidential nominee clarified when he intends to “speak out” against the president.
I do 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.