Romney slams Trump's character in new op-ed

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDeval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Jon Huntsman expected to run for governor in Utah MORE (R-Utah) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report 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: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court Former Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy 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 CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.).