Romney says Trump presidency causing global dismay

Mitt Romney: Trump's biggest failure is a lack of character in leading 'divided' nation

But Romney's stature in the party and in his home state may give him wider latitude to act as a counterweight to Trump in the party.

Despite his prior criticism, after Mr Trump won the presidency in November 2016, he briefly considered tapping Mr Romney as secretary of state.

Trump questioned whether Romney will be "a Flake", referring to outgoing Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who was a frequent critic of Trump.

"Accordingly", he said, "I am asking for your support to take the unprecedented step of amending the rules to close loopholes in the re-nomination campaign, including Rule 40", he said.

In the article, Mr Romney praised many of Mr Trump's policies, such as his tax reforms and appointment of conservative judges, and his crackdown on "China's unfair trade practices" - polices which he said "mainstream Republicans" had promoted for years. The president said Romney "should be happy for all Republicans" and should be "a TEAM player".

Tapper pointed to a Twitter message from 2016 ― two years before Romney accepted the president's endorsement in 2018 ― in which Romney seemed to reject the idea wholesale.

President Trump was propelled to the presidency by his America First agenda that fights for hardworking American taxpayers and the forgotten men and women in our country. Bob Coker, R-Tenn., another retiring senator, left off.

Romney's biting public assessment came as Trump and Senate Republicans faced a new governing dynamic. "A very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had and, I appreciated the chance to speak with the president-elect and look forward to the coming administration". In that same speech, he said "dishonesty is Donald Trump's hallmark". Trump opted for former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who lasted about 14 months before Trump fired him. Trump endorsed him in his Senate bid a year ago. He appears to have more room with GOP voters in Utah to take on the president.

Karpowitz said both Lee and Romney have room to criticize Trump given Utah has not fully embraced him. The stock market tumbled in December.

Trump has remained in Washington, D.C., amid an ongoing shutdown of the federal government prompted by his insistence on funding for a southern border wall - a central promise of his campaign.

Trump has come under fire in the USA for frequently lambasting European countries, which for decades have been seen as traditional allies of the US.

When a questioner confronted him with Trump's tendency to insult and name-call, Paul said that while he doesn't want to say "I give the president a pass" on such behavior, he thinks it is "more important to look at what we have in common, policy-wise, legislation-wise, what we can get accomplished" and that it doesn't "serve any goal other than gratifying oneself to criticize the president's character".

"With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable", Romney wrote in the op-ed piece in The Washington Post on Tuesday. The op-ed rocked the Republican party, and triggered speculation that Romney could assume the role of Trump skeptic in a Senate that's losing its more independent GOP voices.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and Romney's niece, retweeted Trump's remarks about Romney and added that the president is constantly "attacked and obstructed" by the media and Democrats.

Paul has since emerged as an influential Trump ally, even as he's voted against Trump more than any other elected Republican senator.

Bennett, a Fox News contributor, said that Romney's criticisms of Trump were shameful.

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