RNC chair slams her uncle Mitt Romney for Trump criticism

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, the niece of Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Senate should host the State of the Union Dem leaders avert censure vote against Steve King GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering MORE (R-Utah), blasted the incoming lawmaker on Wednesday, saying that the op-ed he wrote criticizing President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE was "disappointing and unproductive."

"POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7," McDaniel wrote on Twitter. "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." 

The statement came just a day after Romney declared that Trump had "not risen to the mantle" of the presidency in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

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"With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring," Romney wrote. 

"On balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office."

Romney later argued that in order "to reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home."

"That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us," he said. 

Trump responded to Romney's criticism on Wednesday, arguing that the 2012 presidential nominee should be a "team player" for Republicans. 

"Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake?" Trump tweeted, referring to outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (R-Ariz.). "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!"

Romney was elected in November and will replace the retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). He is set to be sworn in as Utah's junior senator on Thursday.