Trump Blasts Mitt Romney For ‘Unprecedented’ ‘Abuse’ Of Mike Lee

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Former President Donald Trump released a statement Wednesday blasting Sen. Mitt Romney for his refusal to endorse fellow Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

Lee is running for a third term in the upper chamber against former CIA officer and 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent with the endorsement of the Utah Democratic Party. McMullin says he will not caucus with either party if elected.

Romney, who cited his friendship with McMullin to explain his neutrality in the race, is the only Republican senator not to endorse Lee.

“Mike Lee is an outstanding Senator who has been abused, in an unprecedented way, by a fellow Republican Senator from his own State, something which rarely has happened in political History,” Trump said in a statement endorsing Lee.

“Such an event would only be understandable if Mike did not perform his duties as a United States Senator, but he has, and he has performed them well,” Trump wrote. “Mitt Romney is the Junior Senator from the Great State of Utah, which I won twice in a landslide, once by beating the candidate, Evan “McMuffin” McMullin, who is currently running against Senator Lee.” In 2016, Trump won Utah with 45.5% of the vote. McMullin received 21.5% — the strongest showing for a third-party presidential candidate in any state since Ross Perot crossed the threshold in 25 states in 1992 — while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton netted 27.5%.

“McMuffin does not represent the values of Utah, but neither, as you will see in two years, does Mitt Romney, who refuses to endorse his fellow Republican Senator, Mike Lee,” the former president added.

Lee has consistently led McMullin by roughly five points in independent polling, although in-house data from the National Republican Senatorial Committee has suggested a larger lead for the incumbent. (RELATED: Mike Lee Locked In Surprisingly Tight Senate Race With Evan McMullin)

McMullin’s presidential campaign ran up a significant amount of debt, stiffing employees and contractors, and his failure to file financial statements with the Federal Election Commission likely violated federal law.

After the 2016 election, McMullin founded the nonprofit Stand Up Republic, which spent heavily against Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama special Senate election, which Moore narrowly lost. McMullin endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.