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Mitt Romney Uses Op-Ed to Criticize President He’ll Still Vote Along With Anyway

Seriously, why did he even write this?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dine at Jean Georges restaurant, November 29, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and incoming U.S. Senator from Utah, has been critical of Donald Trump in the past, and he’s taken to The Washington Post to let the president know that he will keep up the tough talk in office, while still just supporting and voting with the same Republican party that loves to support Trump and his agenda. Think of it as Romney’s audition to replace retiring Senator Jeff Flake.

Romney writes of Trump’s presidential run and election,

“It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”

He immediately follows that by listing off all the things that Trump has done that he supports, such as “appoint conservative judges” and “reform criminal justice.” While he follows this list with the statement that policies do not a president make, it is clear that he will stand in line with what Republicans support, which, at the present time, means what the current administration supports. He will not branch out and push back against any outlandish policies or harmful judges such as Brett Kavanaugh.

Romney then writes,

“To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.’ A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.

“The world is also watching. America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more esteemed. Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would ‘do the right thing in world affairs.’ One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.”

He’s not wrong. A president should guide the nation, and we shouldn’t be at the point where things are politically fraught in this way, but we are, because for some of us, this is a fight for our lives. For those who aren’t straight, cisgendered, able-bodied white men, we are faced with challenges that have only become more apparent as civility has been stripped away. For many of us, this fight has been going on for as long as we have been a country. The only difference is in the level of pretense.

For all his big words, Romney also says that he looks forward to “working on these priorities with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other senators.”

“These priorities” include a strong church, a strong fiscal foundation, and the “rule of law.” I will give him credit, though: He does talk about defending the right to a free press, which is key. That’s all I will give him credit for though.

Twitter had the best responses to this op-ed, of course, pointing out that Romney’s piece doesn’t promise to stand against Trump, but rather to work with a party that is more concerned with supporting the president and saving face than it is with challenging the current administration.

That is the truth. Romney is not promising change or to help those who are most vulnerable. He is trying to save some semblance of face and make himself seem more moderate, possibly in an attempt to appeal to voters, before voting conservative every time. There is no point to this op-ed. It is not brave, nor is it taking a stand. It’s just posturing, an empty gesture before he falls in line with the rest of the party—one that’s perfectly willing to side with Donald Trump over his hollow words anyway.

Seriously, this is his niece:

Who is this act even for?

(via The Washington Post, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.