Comey defends Romney for ‘calling out’ Trump

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThere are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra Trump has considered firing official who reported whistleblower complaint to Congress: report Broadcast, cable news networks to preempt regular programming for Trump impeachment coverage MORE on Wednesday defended Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyClub for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment Pennsylvania's other election-night story This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Utah) after he was criticized for writing a scathing op-ed that panned President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official Appropriators agree to Dec. 20 funding deadline House Democrats circulate memo rebutting GOP impeachment defense MORE’s character.

“Looks like the Republican tent is too small to fit integrity. Today, Republicans attacked a Senator for truthfully calling out the President for his lack of character, while staying mute as he proved it by lying about Jim Mattis and approving the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” Comey tweeted Wednesday. 

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Comey referred to comments Trump made Wednesday saying he “effectively fired” outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisFormer Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy Former staffer hits back at Mattis's office over criticism of tell-all book Former speechwriter for General James Mattis: Has the national security state grappled with Donald Trump? MORE and that the Soviet Union was “right to be” in Afghanistan in the 1970s because “terrorists were going into Russia.”

Romney in The Washington Post on Tuesday wrote that Trump had “not risen to the mantle” of the presidency.

“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.” 

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Romney’s niece, tweeted that “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.”

Trump also jumped on Romney, citing his failed 2012 presidential campaign. 

“I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

Romney’s soon-to-be colleague Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Rand Paul says Trump has 'every right' to withhold Ukraine aid over corruption Paul dismisses Bevin loss, touts 'red wave' in other Kentucky races MORE (R-Ky.) also criticized the incoming senator, saying he was trying to “signal how virtuous he is.”

Romney has said he will call out the president when necessary but agrees with him on some policies, including the contentious border wall.

Romney was elected in November and will replace the retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese MORE (R-Utah). He is set to be sworn in as Utah's junior senator on Thursday. 

Comey, who was ousted by Trump, has also been a fierce critic of Trump’s character.