GOP senator knocks Romney: The last thing we need is ‘a Jeff Flake on steroids’

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) needled fellow Republican Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDem leaders avert censure vote against Steve King GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (Utah) in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday, arguing that the GOP doesn't need "more distractions."

"The mainstream media and Democrats want to further divide Republicans, and now Romney has played right into their hands," Perdue wrote.

"Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (Ariz.) filled that role before his retirement; the last thing we need now in the Senate is a Jeff Flake on steroids. We certainly don’t need more distractions. We need constructive leaders who want to get things done."

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Perdue invoked Flake, a vocal critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' Shutdown puts dozens of federal transportation safety probes on hold Howard Schultz advisers exploring possible 2020 independent bid: report MORE who retired this month, while responding to an op-ed that Romney wrote in the Post earlier this week. In the op-ed, Romney slammed Trump's character, saying that it fell short of what the country needed.

The Georgia senator argued Friday that Romney, a former GOP presidential nominee, "made the same mistake that many Republicans did in 2012 — a mistake that cost him the White House."

"Like others who have run for president and failed, Romney has taken a stance that smacks of jealousy and resentment. It does nothing but serve the radical liberal left and further divides conservatives," he argued.

Perdue closed the op-ed by asking Romney to fall in line with the rest of the party.

"We are on track to change the nation’s direction for the better," he wrote. "We are on track to restore economic opportunity, fiscal responsibility, limited government and individual liberty. I hope Romney, who plans to caucus with Republicans, will reconsider continuing his harmful behavior as he begins his Senate career.

"Instead, I hope he will join me as one of the few business-minded leaders who can stay focused on getting the job done."