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 RomneyOvernight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Trump's Syria envoy says he wasn't consulted on troop withdrawal Trump 'lynching' comparison draws backlash from lawmakers 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 PelosiGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Democrats say they have game changer on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer 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 ScottWhite House spokesman: Trump didn't mean to compare his experience with 'darkest moments' in US history Blood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Rand Paul: 'We deserve to know' identity of Trump whistleblower MORE (S.C.), the only African American Republican in the Senate, called the tweets "racially offensive."

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Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision Hurd: No Ukrainian officials have told State Department 'they felt like their arms were being twisted' 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.