Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Utah) slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe 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.
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 MattisFormer Defense Secretary Mattis testifies in Theranos CEO trial 20 years after 9/11, we've logged successes but the fight continues Defense & National Security — The mental scars of Afghanistan 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 CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.).