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Romney: Trump's remarks at Putin summit 'disgraceful and detrimental to democratic principles'

Romney: Trump's remarks at Putin summit 'disgraceful and detrimental to democratic principles'
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Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCentrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? China's genocide must be stopped MORE tore into President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE on Monday after Trump challenged the intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, calling Trump's behavior "disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles."

Romney's comments came hours after Trump held a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in which he questioned whether Russia was behind efforts to meddle in the 2016 election. 

"President Trump's decision to side with Putin over American intelligence agencies is disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles," Romney, who is running for Senate in Utah, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"Russia remains our number one geopolitical adversary; claiming a moral equivalence between the United States and Russia not only defies reason and history, it undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility."

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Romney's statement was one of several GOP rebukes of Trump's performance at the press conference.

Romney had taken a noticeably softer approach to the president in recent months after being fiercely critical during the real estate mogul's 2016 presidential bid.

Trump has offered Romney his endorsement in his bid to replace the retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (R-Utah).

Trump's comments on Monday, however, drew criticism from across the political spectrum, with both Republicans and Democrats criticizing him for failing to say whether Russia interfered in the election and casting doubt on his own intelligence community, while standing next to Putin.

"They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia," Trump said, adding that he does not "see any reason why it would be" Russia.