Romney says niece's public criticism was more 'civil' than it would have been at Thanksgiving dinner

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: 'Putin and Kim Jong Un deserve a censure rather than flattery' A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (R-Utah), responding to criticism from his niece, Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, said McDaniel's remarks were "probably more civil than it might have been across the Thanksgiving dinner table."

“She’s the chairwoman of the Republican Party, she has a responsibility. I respect her right to express that viewpoint,” Romney said Wednesday on CNN.

“It’s probably more civil than it might have been across the Thanksgiving dinner table," he continued. "We of course have disagreements in our family, but she’s a very loyal Republican, loyal to the president and she’s doing what she thinks is best for him and for the party.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

McDaniel panned Romney Wednesday morning over an op-ed he penned in The Washington Post on Tuesday that slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's character. McDaniel, a staunch Trump ally, said the piece was "disappointing and unproductive."

“POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” she wrote.

The statement came just a day after Romney declared that Trump had “not risen to the mantle” of the presidency in the op-ed. 

“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. “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.”

Romney was elected in November and will replace the retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). He is set to be sworn in as Utah's junior senator on Thursday.