By Joshua Caplan
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Monday took a veiled swipe at President Donald Trump’s diplomatic approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, arguing they “deserve a censure rather than flattery,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
Romney, an outspoken critic of the administration, jabbed the president without naming him in a prepared speech at an event held by the Sutherland Institute, a right-of-center think tank based in Salt Lake City.
“I think demonstrating personal character is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader of the land,” the Utah Republican continued. In an attempt to denuclearize a belligerent North Korea, President Trump has participated in two summits with Kim and exchanged several letters. The president also met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in a bid to repair ties left in tatters by the Obama administration.
Romney, who was soundly defeated by President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, has heavily criticized President Trump — most notably during the 2016 election, describing him as a “con man,” and a “fake.” However, in a show of unity, president-elect Trump put aside Romney’s criticism and interviewed him for the position of Secretary of State, a job which ultimately went to former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
During the 2018 midterm election, President Trump endorsed Romney, which the then-senate candidate gladly accepted. Just when the pair’s relationship appeared to be on the mend, Romney once again attacked President Trump with a Washington Post opinion-editorial published two days before he was sworn into office. The Utah Republican recently slammed President Trump for suggesting he may be open to receiving opposition research on his political opponents from foreign governments, calling the idea “unthinkable.” Days later, the president rejected the hypothetical scenario, saying he would alert federal authorities if his campaign was approached.
Later in his speech before the think tank, Romney criticized far-left proposals such as the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All,” advocated by several 2020 White House hopefuls.
At one point, Romney also conceded his “slice of Republican Party these days is about that big,” placing his hands closely together, before claiming he is not “100 percent sold on everything my current party’s establishment is doing.”
“I am aligned with the Republican conservative philosophy and believe that our Democratic friends are taking us in a very different direction, which would be most unfortunate to our future,” said the lawmaker.