Comey defends Romney for ‘calling out’ Trump

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFive memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House Under Trump, our democracy is for sale MORE on Wednesday defended Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' 'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls MORE (R-Utah) after he was criticized for writing a scathing op-ed that panned President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment 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 MattisTop nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Top nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One 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 PaulOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales 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 to award Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer Trump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 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.