WASHINGTON — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that he is “troubled” by the state of American politics today, calling on leaders from both sides of the aisle to “tone it down.”
“I have stayed quiet with the approach of the election,” Romney said in a statement posted to Twitter. “But I’m troubled by our politics, as it has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation – let alone the birthplace of modern democracy.”
The Utah senator criticized President Donald Trump for divisive rhetoric, Democrats like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for ripping up the president’s speech after the State of the Union address earlier this year, and figures in the media he claimed “amplify all of it.”
“The president calls the Democratic vice presidential candidate ‘a monster;’ he repeatedly labels the speaker of the House ‘crazy;’ he calls for the Justice Department to put the prior president in jail; he attacks the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her,” Romney said.
While condemning the actions of Trump, Pelosi and one commentator, former ESPN host Keith Olbermann who labeled Trump a “terrorist,” Romney suggested that Democratic nominee Joe Biden has shown more restraint than others. Democrats, Romney said, are also guilty of launching “blistering attacks of their own – though their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as others.”
Romney has declined to say publicly if he will back his party’s nominee or another candidate. In 2016, Romney said he chose to cast his ballot for his wife Ann Romney rather than voting for Trump or Hillary Clinton. A group of former Romney staffers backed Biden earlier this year.
He has knocked Trump by defending mail-in voting and decrying the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Romney, who was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump on one article of impeachment earlier this year, said in his statement that today’s political attacks fuel dangerous conspiracy theorists.
“The world is watching America with abject horror; more consequentially, our children are watching. Many Americans are frightened for our country – so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent,” Romney said.
“It is time to lower the heat. Leaders must tone it down,” Romney said. “The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that.”