Republican Utah Sen.-elect Mitt Romney admitted that he was not ready to endorse President Donald Trump for re-election, during a Wednesday afternoon interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Romney’s statements come a day after he criticized the president in a Washington Post op-ed. (RELATED: Mitt Romney Writes Anti-Trump Op-Ed, Questions President’s ‘Character’)
“You interviewed for a job with him to be potentially Secretary of State. What changed? Why were you willing to talk to him and accept his endorsement when you have all these reservations about him?” Tapper asked.
“Well, you know, after he was elected president, it was very much my hope that he would rise to the occasion, rise to the mantle of the office. After all, becoming president of the United States is quite an elevation for anybody. And he has said during the campaign that he could be extraordinary presidential. When I hear that, I think of Washington and Lincoln and Jefferson and Roosevelt and Kennedy and Eisenhower. And I think of those qualities. And I think that while he spoke of that, and while that was my hope, I don’t think he’s followed through on that front the way he’s followed through on some of his other promises.”
“Do you regret accepting his endorsement when he sent that tweet?” Tapper followed up, in reference to Trump’s endorsement of him for the senate.
“He was endorsing me. I wasn’t endorsing him. And I haven’t decided who I’m going to endorse in 2020. I’m going to see what the alternatives are,” the former presidential candidate answered.
“So you’re not on board because the senior senator from Utah, Mike Lee, said he’s likely going to endorse the president,” Tapper added.
“I think it’s early to make that decision and I want to see what the alternatives are,” Romney said. “But I pointed out, there are places where we agree on a whole series of policy fronts, but there are places that I think the president can — if you will, elevate his game. And do a better job to help bring us together as a nation.”