Comey defends Romney for ‘calling out’ Trump

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight MORE on Wednesday defended Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyKaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Romney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Utah) after he was criticized for writing a scathing op-ed that panned President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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 MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book 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 PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial 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 HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals 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.