Romney slams Trump's character in new op-ed

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOutgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Utah) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' MORE's character on Tuesday, writing in a Washington Post op-ed that it fell short of what the country needed.

"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.

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Romney, who criticized Trump in the run up to the 2016 election, said the events of the past month, including the departures of Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Pentagon seeks to reconsider parts of B cloud contract given to Microsoft over Amazon Democrats press FEC pick to recuse himself from Trump matters MORE and chief of staff John Kelly, marked a worrying decline for Trump's presidency.

"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," the 2012 Republican presidential nominee wrote.

Romney argued that Trump's "shortfall" set a poor example for America's "public character," while alienating U.S. allies.

"I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions," he wrote. "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 went on.

Romney added that not all of Trump's policies were "misguided," but said the president should "unite us and inspire us to follow 'our better angels.'"

"To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow 'our better angels,'" he wrote.

Romney's comments come two days before he will be sworn in to the Senate on Thursday. With the op-ed, Romney seems poised to become one of Trump's top Republican critics in the Senate.

Romney's swearing in Thursday will follow the departure of some of the Senate's most vocal Trump critics, such as Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMcConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE (R-Ariz.).