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President Donald Trump calls Mitt Romney a loser — again

In this May 7, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus response in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The Supreme Court is taking up Trump’s bid to keep his tax, bank and financial records private, a major clash over accountability that could affect the 2020 presidential campaign.
Evan Vucci, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump had one word for Sen. Mitt Romney on Monday: loser.

Actually, Trump tweeted “LOSER!” along with a video of Romney losing the 2012 presidential election and him winning the 2016 election, the same one the president posted in a tit-for-tat last year.

This time Trump apparently took issue with a Romney tweet over the weekend condemning the president’s dismissal of several inspectors general the past few weeks.

“The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power,” Romney tweeted Saturday.

Romney’s comments came in response to Trump last Friday removing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the latest in a series of firings of independent government watchdogs in the wake of the president’s acquittal on two articles of impeachment earlier this year.

Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump on abuse of power after his impeachment trial in January.

In the past few weeks, Trump has taken steps to remove inspectors general in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Defense Department and the intelligence community, including Michael Atkinson, who insisted on telling the lawmakers about the whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment proceedings.

In April, Romney joined a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in demanding Trump explain why he fired Atkinson. They contended in a letter that the explanation Trump gave for removing him was insufficient and does not comply with the law. The president cited a lack of confidence in the intelligence community’s top watchdog.

Also in April, Romney and senators from both parties urged the president to ensure the independence of the special inspector general for coronavirus pandemic recovery — a position they worked into the economic relief package — and to provide Congress with details about its plans for rigorous oversight.