In a commentary piece for The Washington Post, GOP Sen. David Perdue of Georgia unleashed on newly minted Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, calling him “Jeff Flake on steroids” and saying that Romney’s own piece in the Post last week is proof of why he lost the 2012 election.
Romney’s column, published Tuesday, excoriated the president for what Romney saw as poor personnel moves and personal failings on Trump’s part.
“It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not,” Romney wrote.
“When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
Romney wrote that “I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
Perdue blasted Romney for his selfishness in a rejoinder published by the newspaper on Friday.
“With his attempted character assassination of the president, a fellow Republican, Romney put self-interest ahead of the larger national interest: conservative Republican governance,” Perdue wrote.
“Like others who have run for president and failed, Romney has taken a stance that smacks of jealousy and resentment. It does nothing but serve the radical liberal left and further divides conservatives,” he said.
“As the only former chief executive of a Fortune 500 company in Congress, I was initially thrilled by the prospect of welcoming another business guy to the Senate. But Romney’s behavior — before he was sworn in or cast his first vote as the new senator from Utah — was deeply disappointing.”
Romney, Perdue wrote, “ran to the media instead of picking up the phone. That is exactly what is wrong with Washington.”
“The mainstream media and Democrats want to further divide Republicans, and now Romney has played right into their hands,” he wrote.
“Jeff Flake (Ariz.) filled that role before his retirement; the last thing we need now in the Senate is a Jeff Flake on steroids. We certainly don’t need more distractions. We need constructive leaders who want to get things done.”
Flake, of course, is openly considering a 2020 run after spending the last two years of his term brutally attacking Trump at every turn.
Perdue’s column got plenty of attention, but he was hardly the only person attacking Romney.
Did you see what Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) had to say about Romney’s anti-Trump op-ed? ?https://t.co/gNpWnqVfZS
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 5, 2019
Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, attacked the Utah senator on Twitter.
POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive. https://t.co/ArhI7Bi7bo
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 2, 2019
“For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” she wrote.
Why is that important? Well, McDaniel is Romney’s niece. She was also responding to a tweet from the president in which he compared Romney to Flake.
Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2019
We don’t know how Mitt Romney will turn out as a senator. He was decidedly average as a presidential candidate (and that’s being charitable) and his time as governor of Massachusetts was solid, if unspectacular.
However, given that he was sniping at the president before his term even began, it’s certainly not a good augury.
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