Republican Senator Mitt Romney has called out United States President Donald Trump and urged “leaders of all stripes” to “tone it down”, warning that the high-pitched, election season rhetoric and attacks will lead to “dangerous action” from their followers.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Utah senator lashed out at Trump, but also his opponents on the left, for shifting the nature of politics “from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation – let alone the birthplace of modern democracy.”
“It is time to lower the heat,” said Romney, one of the few prominent Republicans to have frequently criticised Trump since his 2016 election win.
Romney, the only member of the Republican Senate majority to vote for Trump’s impeachment in February, homed in on the president’s calling Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris a “monster” and the Democratic leader of the House Nancy Pelosi “crazy”, among other things.
My thoughts on the current state of our politics: pic.twitter.com/oYY4zlX6ZP
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 13, 2020
He charged that Democrats, too, “launch blistering attacks”, though he offered fewer examples.
These included the moment Pelosi ripped up Trump’s State of the Union Speech and a recent video by Keith Olbermann, a progressive political and sports commentator, calling Trump a “terrorist”.
Meanwhile, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, gave a pass to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who he said “refuses to stoop as low as others”.
‘World is watching America’
Romney has said previously he will not be voting for Trump in the November 3 polls, but has not said if he supports Biden for president.
Romney’s statement also went after media organisations which he said “amplify” the brutal political fighting.
Referring to an alleged failed plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan – herself a frequent target of Trump’s criticism – he warned that “rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters”.
Biden to Trump about 20 minutes into the presidential debate: “will you shut up man?”
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 30, 2020
“The world is watching America with abject horror,” said Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Barack Obama.
“Many Americans are frightened for our country – so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent.”
“The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that,” he said.
Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday, holding his first rally since his hospitalisation for COVID-19.
He is campaigning in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, while his Democratic rival Biden is in Florida. Both states are seen as key to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.