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Romney slams Trump's character in new op-ed

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyHouse formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Focus on vaccine, virus, travel MORE (R-Utah) slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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 MattisOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Senate confirms Austin to lead Pentagon under Biden Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 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 CorkerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Former GOP senator: Republicans cannot let Trump's 'reckless' post-election claims stand Cornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeArizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear MORE (R-Ariz.).