Romney slams Trump's character in new op-ed

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFormer Bush staffer urges 'fellow Latinos' to vote Trump 'out of office' Lobbying World Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE (R-Utah) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: 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 MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico Trump needs a national security adviser who 'speaks softly' US could deploy 150 troops to Syria: report 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 CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (R-Ariz.).