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Rand Paul Slams Mitt Romney for Trying to ‘Signal How Virtuous He Is’ in Anti-Trump Op-Ed

Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R-Utah) caught the ire of many conservatives after he slammed President Donald Trump in an op-ed, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

In an op-ed to the Washington Post, Romney picked apart Trump’s character and his ability to lead.

“With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable,” Romney wrote. “And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

As IJR reported earlier, Trump responded to Romney’s attack and called on him to “be a team player”:

Paul joined the president in questioning Romney’s decision to write the op-ed. He claimed that the incoming senator’s op-ed did nothing but virtue signal:

Although Romney did highlight some of Trump’s conservative victories in his op-ed, he likely angered Paul by slamming Trump’s pending withdrawal from Syria. Romney wrote:

The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.

As IJR previously reported, Paul has been one of the president’s largest supporters as far as his new Middle Eastern strategy unfolds.

Paul was not the only elected official to express concern over Romney’s op-ed.

Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) blasted Romney as a “pathetic loser” and called him out on Twitter:

Other Republicans were more subtle in their disagreement with Romney. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) just retweeted a comment from Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, and incoming Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) made a subtle jab by saying she will continue to focus on policy rather than the president’s Twitter feed:

Although Romney faced several critics, there were a few Republicans who agreed with him, including Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). They all also have in common that they will be leaving public office January 3.

Flake decided not to run for re-election in 2018. Faso and Curbelo were both defeated by their Democratic opponents in November.

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