Mitt Romney breaks his silence on Donald Trump’s personal attacks

You might feel like years have passed since the start of this presidential campaign, and we have years to go before it ends. But if it makes you feel better, you wouldn’t be the only person that feels that way as former Republican presidential contender, Senator Mitt Romney, has broken his silence to address the hostile verbal warfare between his party and the Democrats. In a statement he shared on Twitter, Romney wrote: “I have stayed quiet with the approach of the election. But I’m troubled 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. The President calls the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate ‘a monster,’ he repeatedly labels the Speaker of the House ‘crazy;’ he calls for the Justice Department to put the prior president in jail; he attacks the Governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her…”

But the Democrats don’t get off lightly, either. Romney added: “Democrats launch blistering attacks of their — through their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as the others. Pelosi tears up the President’s State of the Union speech on national television. Keith Olbermann calls the President a ‘terrorist.’ Media on the left and right amplify all of it.”

Romney to both sides: Lower the heat

Romney used his statement to point out both the potential and actual consequences of irresponsible hate speech, saying, “The rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters who take the small and predictable step from intemperate word to dangerous action. The world is watching America with abject horror; more consequentially, our children are watching. Many Americans are frightened for our country — so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent.”

He called on both sides “to lower the heat. Leaders must tone it down. Leaders from the top and leaders of all stripes… [because] the consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that.”

This would not be the first time Romney has used social media to chastise statements that have come from the White House. After President Donald Trump refused to agree to a peaceful transition of power before the campaign officially kicked off, Romney tweeted: “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.” 

Mitt Romney has called for civility before

The comment, unsurprisingly, drew fire from both sides; one Trump supporter tweeted: “Like it or not, the president fights back, and that’s why he has been the president, and you weren’t. You’re that ‘nice’ GOP politician who lets the left beat you like a yard dog, making promises that you won’t keep so you can recycle them every election cycle.” Another took exception to Romney’s “both sides” view, saying, “I agree with much of this. However, having to reach back to last February to find an example of a Democratic leader’s ‘blistering attack’ and then using *Keith Olbermann* as your other example should tell you this is really NOT a ‘both sides’ problem.”

This isn’t the first time Romney has called for civility in political discourse. When he ran against former President Barack Obama in 2012, he accused Obama of running “a campaign of division and anger and hate;” he also warned, “This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. He won’t win that way” (via Politico). In 2012, The Washington Post also reminded the electorate what Romney stood for: a smaller Medicaid program, a Medicare overhaul, restrictions on reproductive rights, and a rollback on worker protections and anti-discrimination laws. Then, op-ed writer Jamelle Bouie said, “The negativity of this election is simply a sign that both sides are deeply serious about the consequences of victory or defeat.” 

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