The 2012 Republican presidential nominee sent a message to the 2016 Republican presidential nominee: “this is a defining moment.”
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and the Republican Party’s standard-bearer in 2012, sent a strong message to President Trump on Friday regarding his response to Charlottesville: do more.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Romney said that Trump’s words, “whether he intended to or not,” caused the “vast heart of America to mourn.”
Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Romney suggested the president’s words impacted America’s standing in the world, such that, if there’s another terrorist attack on our soil, the world may not be as ready to come to America’s aid:
Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America’s ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?
After urging Trump to “[s]tate forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville,” Romney called this “a defining moment for President Trump”:
This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.
Romney can hardly be considered anti-Trump like Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. Romney was one of two finalists to lead President Trump’s State Department and has praised some of President Trump’s Cabinet choices.
He wished Trump the best after his victory in November:
Best wishes for our duly elected president: May his victory speech be his guide and preserving the Republic his aim.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 9, 2016
All of this makes Romney’s forceful condemnation all the more notable.
Romney has been considered a potential candidate for U.S. Senate, if Orrin Hatch of Utah decides to retire.
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