Romney won't say if Trump's attacks against minority lawmakers are racist

Romney won't say if Trump's attacks against minority lawmakers are racist
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: 'Putin and Kim Jong Un deserve a censure rather than flattery' A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (R-Utah) on Monday declined to answer questions about whether he felt President Trump's tweets attacking four Democratic congresswomen were racist. 

In a video tweeted by NBC News reporter Alison King, the Utah senator is asked if he would call Trump's tweets, in which the president said the four lawmakers should "go back" to their home countries, racist. 

"That's all I got. Thanks," Romney said before walking off.

The Hill has reached out to Romney's office for comment.

Romney told King that Trump "fell far short" in his calling to unite Americans. 

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"I certainly feel a number of these new members of Congress have views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with building a strong America," he told King, according to her tweet.

"At the same time, I recognize that the [president] has a unique and noble calling to unite all Americans regardless of our creeds or race or place of our national origin and I think in that case, the [president] fell far short," he added.

Speaking to reporters later, Romney again would not directly say if thought the tweet is racist but said it was "very wrong." 

"A lot of people have been using the word. My own view is that what was said and what was tweeted was destructive, was demeaning, was disunifying and frankly was very wrong," Romney said, according to a transcript of the conversation tweeted by Burgess Everett. 

Romney also did not say whether or not Senate should vote to condemn the comments, as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (D-Calif.) has called for in the House. 

"Haven't given that thought," he said. "But I've certainly indicated what I believe, so if that were to come, people know where I stand." 

Few Republicans have gone so far as to call the president's comments racist. 

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottIt's time to empower military families with education freedom GOP Sen. Tim Scott says if he runs in 2022 it will be his last race When it comes to student debt, it is time to talk solutions MORE (S.C.), the only African American Republican in the Senate, called the tweets "racially offensive."

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Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Democrat running for Will Hurd's seat raises over million in first 100 days of campaign Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE (R-Texas), the House's sole black Republican, and Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), called the tweets racist. 

Trump's tweets were aimed at four Democratic lawmakers: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), all of whom are women of color and U.S. citizens. Only Omar was born outside the United States.

Trump on Sunday tweeted that the Democratic women should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came" before they criticize the United States, sparking outcry among Democrats and criticism from a handful of Republicans.

—Updated at 5:24 p.m.