Romney: US can't 'minimize' Khashoggi's 'brutal and gruesome murder'

Romney: US can't 'minimize' Khashoggi's 'brutal and gruesome murder'
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Utah Senate candidate and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE on Thursday said the United States can't "minimize the brutal & gruesome murder" of Jamal Khashoggi, calling for sanctions against the "perpetrators."

"America can't excuse & minimize the brutal & gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident & columnist. Our country is defined by human values, by principle above convenience, & by commitment to morality. We must subject the perpetrators of this outrage to withering sanction," Romney tweeted.

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Romney's remarks add to the pressure the Trump administration is coming under from Republicans to take a tough approach with Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and hasn’t been seen since. 

The former Massachusetts governor is almost certain to be elected to the Senate next month.

He's often criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE, though earlier this fall he denied he'd ever been a leader of the "never Trump" crowd. The remark raised eyebrows given a fiery speech that Romney gave against Trump in 2016, when he labeled the then-GOP presidential candidate a "phony" and a "fraud."

Romney's tweet came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said Saudi Arabia would have “a few more days" to complete its investigation into what happened to Khashoggi. 

Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was likely killed at the consulate, and new reports from Turkey have said there is audio of people cutting off Khashoggi’s fingers and beheading him inside the consulate.