Comey defends Romney for ‘calling out’ Trump

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it MORE on Wednesday defended Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall GOP lawmaker comes out against Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R-Utah) after he was criticized for writing a scathing op-ed that panned President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border 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 MattisOvernight Defense: Dems tee up Tuesday vote against Trump's emergency declaration | GOP expects few defections | Trump doubles number of troops staying in Syria to 400 Trump administration ups to 400 number of troops staying behind in Syria Kurdish-led Syrian administration cheers Trump decision to leave troops in region 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 PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency 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 HatchThe FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate Orrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab 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.