Mitt Romney decries US politics: ‘The world is watching with abject horror’
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an extraordinary statement on Tuesday, decrying a political scene he said “has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass, that is unbecoming of any free nation”.
“The world is watching America with abject horror,” he added.
The presidential election is on 3 November. Donald Trump, the incumbent, trails challenger Joe Biden by double digits in many national polls and by smaller but significant margins in battleground states.
On Tuesday morning, Trump’s Twitter feed was as usual filled with abuse of Biden and other presidential hate figures. Romney, a Utah senator who was the 2012 Republican nominee for president, decried such attacks on Biden, his running mate Kamala Harris, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, recently the subject of an alleged kidnap plot by anti-government domestic terrorists.
But Romney also sought to blame both sides, saying: “Pelosi tears up the president’s State of the Union speech on national television. Keith Olbermann calls the president a terrorist.”
Why Romney felt it necessary to single out Olbermann, a former MSNBC and ESPN host and GQ columnist who campaigns online to save stray dogs, was not immediately clear.
Romney tweeted his statement under the title “My thoughts on the current state of our politics”.
“I have stayed quiet,” he said, “with the approach of the election.”
In fact the senator has spoken out on a range of issues recently, prominent among them Trump’s hugely controversial attempt to ram his nominee Amy Coney Barrett on to the supreme court so close to election day, a key cause of bitter partisan debate.
Claiming the US was a “centre-right” country, a position not supported by polling on key issues before the court including healthcare and abortion rights, Romney has said he supports the move to establish a 6-3 conservative majority.
“But I’m troubled by our politics,” the sole Republican to vote to impeach Trump added in his statement.
“The president calls the Democratic vice-presidential candidate ‘a monster’. He repeatedly labels the Speaker of the House ‘crazy’. He calls for the justice department to put the prior president in jail. He attacks the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her.
“Democrats launch blistering attacks of their own, though their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as others.”
The “media”, Romney said in a statement which he released to the media, “on the left and right, amplify, all of it.
“The rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters who take the small and predictable step from intemperate word to dangerous action. The world is watching America with abject horror.”
Romney also said: “More consequently, our children are watching. Many Americans are frightened for our country, so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent. It is time to lower the heat.
“The leaders must tone it down, leaders from the top and leaders of all stripes. Parents, bosses, reporters, columnists, professors, union chiefs, everyone. The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that.”