Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday beseeched Americans from all political persuasions and walks of life — from President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on down — to restore civility to public discourse.
“I have stayed quiet with the approach of the election,” the former Republican presidential candidate began a Tuesday tweet. “But I’m trouble by our politics, as it has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation — let alone the birthplace of modern democracy.”
Romney went on to call out Trump on a number of fronts.
“The President calls the Democratic vice presidential candidate [California Sen. Kamala Harris] a ‘monster,’” he wrote.
“He repeatedly labels the Speaker of the House ‘crazy,’” he continued, referring to a recurring Trump nickname for Pelosi.
“He calls for the Justice Department to put the prior president [Barack Obama] in jail,” he added. “He attacks the governor of Michigan [Gretchen Whitmer] on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her.”
But Romney, who has at times throughout Trump’s presidency broken with the larger Republican voting bloc in the Senate, also took aim at Democrats including Pelosi, as well as members of the media.
“Democrats launch blistering attacks of their own — though their presidential nominee [former Vice President Joe Biden] refuses to stoop as low as others,” he wrote.
“Pelosi tears up the president’s State of the Union speech on national television,” Romney continued. “[Political commentator] Keith Olbermann calls the president a ‘terrorist.’ Media on the left and right amplify all of it.”
Romney was referring to a recent online video and tweet in which Olbermann dubbed Trump “a mass murderer” and “the worst terrorist we’ve ever faced.”
The lawmaker said that the steady diet of vitriol is harming all involved — as well as many who are not.
“The world is watching America with abject horror; more consequentially, our children are watching,” he wrote. “Many Americans are frightened for our country — so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent.”
In closing, he called on all Americans to draw a line between ideological differences and bad blood.
“It is time to lower the heat,” he wrote. “Leaders must tone it down. Leaders from the top and leaders of all stripes: Parents, bosses, reporters, columnists, professors, union chiefs, everyone. The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place.
“No sane person can want that.”
Romney’s message came hours after Trump claimed that his Democratic presidential challenger, Joe Biden, was suffering from worsening “dementia” because Biden appeared to forget Romney’s name during a campaign stop.
One person not immediately moved by the plea was Olbermann, who tweeted that he meant what he said.
“Mitt, I called Trump a terrorist because Trump IS a terrorist. And you’re his enabler,” Olbermann wrote. “And if you don’t like the state of politics, fix the root causes — your party, and @realDonaldTrump. If not, go read up on Franz von Papen.”
Von Papen served as vice-chancellor of Germany under Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
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