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Romney: Mattis statement 'stunning and powerful'

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds Will anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday praised former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPresident Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Nearly 300 more former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report MORE, who, on Wednesday, offered a blistering critique of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE as a divisive leader.

"Gen. Mattis’s letter was stunning and powerful. Gen. Mattis is a man of extraordinary sacrifice. He's an American patriot. He's an individual whose judgment I respect, and I think the world of him," Romney told reporters.

"If I ever had to choose somebody to be in a foxhole with, it would be with a Gen. Mattis. What a wonderful, wonderful man," Romney added.

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Romney didn't talk directly about the content of Mattis's statement or say whether he agreed with the former Defense secretary, who, in a statement to The Atlantic, condemned Trump for his handling of the protests over George Floyd’s death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest, even after he went unconscious.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote.

Mattis said Trump is the first president in his lifetime “who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”

Trump's handling of nationwide protests sparked by Floyd's death has added new tension into his relationship with Senate Republicans. The president has floated sending the military into U.S. cities and urged governors to crack down on protesters.

GOP senators have urged him to tone down his rhetoric over concerns that it would only pour fuel into already raw racial tensions following Floyd's death.

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Some have also broken with him on whether he should invoke the Insurrection Act and over the White House's treatment of protesters on Monday night, when they were forcibly cleared from Lafayette Square shortly before Trump walked across the street.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day Harris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' MORE (R-Alaska), one of the caucus's most moderate members, told reporters on Thursday that she was "struggling" with if she could support Trump.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham wants to review ActBlue's source of small-dollar contributions GOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety MORE (R-Ohio) said that he thought Trump had done a "pretty good job on his prepared remarks" but "his tone and words kind of in between those more formal presentations ... have not united people."