SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Senator-elect Mitt Romney isn’t holding back as he prepares to take office.
Romney is criticizing President Trump’s character, reminiscent of a speech he delivered at the University of Utah in 2016.
It’s helping to answer a question that has been at the top of many minds in Utah.
“We have all been wondering whether he would use his voice to speak up against Trump about the things he disagrees with, and he answered that question for us,” said Morgan Lyon Cotti with the Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Romney answered that question in a scathing op-ed published in the Washington Post. In it, he says the president’s character falls short.
“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,” he wrote.
Lyon Cotti says it’s a tone that sits well with most Utahns as the senator-elect sets the stage for his upcoming term.
“He’s really setting himself apart from the rest of the freshman class. There are not many senators-elect that could have this much attention because of an op-ed. But, he’s also speaking beyond just the U.S. Senate, beyond Utahns, he’s speaking to Washington D.C. and even to the world stage,” she said.
The president is responding to Romney’s rebuke.
“I wish Mitt could be more of a team player. I’m surprised he did it this quickly. I was expecting something, but I’m surprised he did it this quickly,” said President Trump.
Romney’s own niece, the chair of the Republican National Committee is standing with the president.
Ronna McDaniel tweeted her uncles “attack” is “disappointing and unproductive.”
This op-ed is also stirring speculation of a possible 2020 presidential run for Romney.
In previous interviews with ABC4 News, Romney has said that’s not his goal.