Romney says Trump's protest tweets 'clearly intended to further inflame racial tensions'

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error MORE (R-Utah) accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE of attempting to “further inflame racial tensions” with his response to unrest in American cities.

“The comments and tweets over the past few days, including a retweet of a 2019 video clearly intended to further inflame racial tensions, are simply jaw-dropping,” Romney told The New York Times. The video in question, which Trump retweeted, shows a Black man shoving a white woman into a New York subway train in 2019. The tweet falsely claims the assault was the work of “Black Lives Matter/Antifa.”

Romney was the only Republican senator to talk about the president’s comments and tweets in recent days when asked by the Times. Other unsubstantiated or inflammatory comments have included Trump’s claim that Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE is controlled by “people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows” and his suggestion that police, such as those who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., “choke, just like in a golf tournament.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Romney has been one of the president’s most frequent Republican critics in the Senate, and Trump has frequently fired back in response. The Utah senator was also the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump during his impeachment trial earlier this year.  

Romney was also one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump’s commutation of associate Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. The agony of justice Our Constitution is under attack by Attorney General William Barr MORE’s prison sentence.

"Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president," Romney tweeted in July.  He has also frequently pushed back on the president’s claims about mail-in voting, noting that Utah, like many other Western states, has long held elections entirely by mail.

"I don't know of any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud," he said in August. "My biggest concern, frankly, with regards to voting fraud has been that there would be some kind of hacking of our voting electronic systems, and that voting machines or tabulating equipment would be hacked."