Donald Trump slams Mitt Romney after incoming senator attacks US President’s record – Donald Trump’s America
US President Donald Trump has cautioned fellow Republican Mitt Romney to be a “team player” after the former presidential candidate and incoming US senator sharply criticised the President’s actions and questioned his character.
- Mr Romney said Mr Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office”
- Mr Romney criticised Mr Trump’s foreign affairs and personnel decisions
- Mr Trump fired back on Twitter saying “I won big, and he didn’t”
In a Washington Post essay, Mr Romney suggested the US leader had “caused dismay around the world” and said his presidency had “made a deep descent in December”.
“On balance, his conduct over the past two years … is evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office,” said Mr Romney, who starts his new role representing Utah as a senator on Thursday.
“The appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the President’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a ‘sucker’ in world affairs all defined his presidency down,” he wrote.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment, but Mr Trump fired back in a tweet on Wednesday taking aim at Mr Romney’s failed 2012 White House bid.
“Here we go with Mitt Romney … I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, appearing to reference outgoing US senator Jeff Flake, one of the few Republican politicians who publicly spoke out against him.
It is unclear whether any other Republican politicians will feel emboldened to criticise Mr Trump ahead of his presumed 2020 re-election bid or whether Mr Trump will face any serious challengers for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Mr Romney’s move to stake out a more independent position highlights divisions within the party, since Mr Trump, a real estate developer and television reality star who had never held public office before winning the 2016 election, upended many conservatives’ long-held positions on foreign policy and deficits, among others.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also criticised Romney on Twitter, calling his essay an “attack” on Mr Trump that was “disappointing and unproductive”.
Ms McDaniel is Mr Romney’s niece.
Representatives for Mr Romney could not be immediately reached for comment on the tweets by Mr Trump or Ms McDaniel.
Mr Romney and Mr Trump traded barbs during the 2016 presidential campaign, with Mr Romney calling Mr Trump a “fraud” and Mr Trump slamming Mr Romney’s 2012 loss to Democrat Barack Obama.
The two later appeared to bury their bitterness, with Mr Trump briefly considering Mr Romney for secretary of state after he won the White House and endorsing Mr Romney’s 2018 run for the Senate.
In his essay on Tuesday, Mr Romney vowed to speak his mind in Washington, which now includes a divided Congress as Democrats take control of the US House of Representatives following their November election gains.