Romney: I will speak out against Trump on issues of 'substantial significance'

Romney: I will speak out against Trump on issues of 'substantial significance'
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Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney jokes about his multiple houses while arguing against tying lawmaker pay to budget Romney jokes about his multiple houses while arguing against tying lawmaker pay to budget Republicans more interested in a primary challenge to Trump than Democrats were for Obama in 2012 MORE said Sunday he will continue to speak out against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE when he sees fit, but acknowledged that he agrees with a number of the president's policies.

Romney, who is running for U.S. Senate in Utah, penned an op-ed for The Salt Lake Tribune, in which he sought to clarify his stance on Trump, whom Romney has alternately criticized and praised dating back to his own 2012 presidential campaign.

"If you elect me your senator, I will fight with vigor for the interests of our state and nation. I will endorse the president’s policies that support those interests. Hopefully, there will be few occasions where I will be compelled by conscience to criticize," Romney wrote.

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"But, as I have said throughout this campaign, I will call them like I see them. Last week, the president said that I’m a straight shooter; I will endeavor to be just so," he added.

Romney noted that Trump's first year in office "exceeded my expectations," and praised some of his accomplishments. He pointed to the passage of the GOP tax-cut bill and the reduction of regulations as positive developments.

He also pledged to oppose Trump on tariffs, and on the president's rhetoric about immigrants and minorities.

"I have and will continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions," Romney wrote. "I do not make this a daily commentary; I express contrary views only when I believe it is a matter of substantial significance."

"People ask me why I feel compelled to express my disagreements with the president," he added. "I believe that when you are known as a member of a 'team,' and the captain says or does something you feel is morally wrong, if you stay silent you tacitly assent to the captain’s posture."

Romney accepted Trump's endorsement when he was running for president in 2012. However, when Trump ran in 2016, Romney condemned him as a "fraud" and a "phony."

He has since softened his criticism and declined to address his past remarks. Trump endorsed Romney in the Utah Senate race, which Romney thanked him for.

Romney is running for the Republican nomination against state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R) in a Tuesday primary.