Upon Mitt Romney’s election to Orrin Hatch’s U.S. Senate seat, one question that hung heavily in the air was whether the Romney on Utah voters’ ballots had been the one who called out candidate Donald Trump in early 2016 as a “very, very not smart” misogynist of minimal integrity engaging in “absurd third-grade theatrics” or the one who sought to become Trump’s secretary of state later that year.
A Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday in which Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, writes that “the president has not risen to the mantle of the office” serves as evidence that the Trump-skeptic Romney is the one who’ll be sworn in this week.
Here’s Romney on the current state of play in Washington:
‘The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December.’
He cites as evidence the departures of Defense Secretary James Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly.
Like Mattis in his farewell letter to Pentagon personnel, Romney quotes Abraham Lincoln, writing that a president “should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels,’ ” particularly in a time of political division. He finds Trump particularly wanting in this area:
‘[I]t is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.’
And again like Mattis, in both his resignation and farewell letters, Romney puts in a pitch for renewed attention to traditional allies:
‘The world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace.’
Romney does go on to say in the op-ed that he enters the Senate with an intact sense of optimism about the future and an intention to “act as I would with any president, in or out of my party,” backing those “policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and [opposing] those that are not” — adding:
‘I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault.’
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