Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday firmly denounced Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s recent call for a “national divorce,” harkening back on what happened in the U.S. during the Civil War.
“You know, I think Abraham Lincoln dealt with that kind of insanity,” the Utah Republican told reporters during a brief press availability during his visit with lawmakers at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.
“We’re not going to divide the country. It’s united we stand, divided we fall,” Romney said.
He went on to criticize the state of today’s political discourse, placing blame on both political parties.
“Look, there’s no question, but there are some people in my party and in the other party that say things to try to get a headline and get people to send them money, and that happens to lead in today’s loony left,” Romney said, before adding, “I should say loony right.”
Romney’s comments are the latest examples of the senator condemning extremism within his own party. The day before, another Republican politician from Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox, also condemned Greene’s comments.
“This rhetoric is destructive and wrong and — honestly — evil,” Cox tweeted. “We don’t need a divorce, we need marriage counseling. And we need elected leaders that don’t profit by tearing us apart.”
This rhetoric is destructive and wrong and—honestly—evil. We don’t need a divorce, we need marriage counseling. And we need elected leaders that don’t profit by tearing us apart. We can disagree without hate. Healthy conflict was critical to our nation’s founding and survival. pic.twitter.com/HyFgfyjpbf— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) February 20, 2023
Romney and Cox’s comments illustrate the divide within the Republican Party. Romney, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump, and Cox have taken their lumps from conservative delegates at the state Republican Party convention as well as from conservative political commentators like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Asked Tuesday whether he’s decided to run for reelection, and if not, when he plans to decide, Romney said he’ll have an answer later this year.
“You know, for me, the question is always, ‘What can I get done?’ And I have a list of things that I’m working on, I’m going to get an assessment of how effective I will be going forward and getting those things done. I’ll make that assessment over the coming months,” Romney said.
“Sometime, I don’t know, spring or summer, I’ll make that decision and announce it.”
Asked if he’s confident he could win again if he ran, Romney said, “I’m confident that I would win if I decide to run. I’ll have the resources. I have an extraordinary team, and I believe the people of Utah would be with me.”
If he does run, the senator could potentially face some complex headwinds. More Utahns than not approve of his job performance, yet a little over half don’t think he should run for reelection in 2024, a recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found.
Romney lauds Biden’s trip to Kyiv
During his visit with Utah lawmakers, Romney also praised President Joe Biden for his recent surprise visit to Ukraine.
“I thought what President Biden did was laudable, bold, courageous and showed that we have resolve to stand with a sovereign nation against an oppressor,” Romney told Utah Senate Democrats in a brief visit with their caucus.
Romney repeated that praise in his availability with reporters.
“Look, President Biden and I often disagree,” Romney said, blaming the president for helping fuel inflation. “But now and then he does something I agree with and I consider laudatory.”
Romney said Biden’s trip to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “and to stand firm for the principle of liberty is something which I salute,” Romney said.
“It was courageous and the right thing to do. I appreciate him doing that, and recognizing that people of the United State of America stand on the side of liberty.”
Asked about the Republican Party’s attitude toward providing long-term assistance to Ukraine, Romney said he knows “Republicans are somewhat divided on this,” but he added “I think the majority opinion is that we continue to support Ukraine with arms and financial support to help them in their battle against Russian aggression.”
“We stand for liberty,” Romney said. “I think a lot of people don’t recognize that we agreed to defend Ukraine when Ukraine agreed to give up their nuclear weapons some years ago. We signed an agreement that we would help support Ukraine defend its sovereignty. That’s important to remember.”
Romney also said “bad actors, if not checked, continued to do bad things,” alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“And ultimately, that involves us,” Romney said. “If we want to have a prosperous America at peace, we need to stop people that are aggressively invading their neighbors and terrorizing the world.”
In his meeting with Utah Senate Democrats, Romney called Putin a “monster,” in light of Putin’s recent announcement that Moscow is suspending participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia.
“They have a lot more nukes than we do, and they’re looking to potentially expand that even more,” he said. “Putin has in several speeches mentioned nuclear weapons. No one in the West is mentioning nuclear weapons, but he is.”
He went on to say that Russia faces no legitimate threat from Western countries that are simply supporting Ukraine in the midst of Russia’s illegal invasion.
“I happen to believe that it’s a problem if a nuclear nation is able to just take over its neighbor and not abide by the sovereignty of nations,” Romney said. “Russia’s not being attacked, Ukraine is. How do you even make that argument?”
Contributing: Bridger Beal-Cvetko