The new United States Senator from Utah is creating quite a stir.
Remember Mitt Romney? Romney, 71, served as Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and was defeated by President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Last year, Romney embarked on a new political journey when he ran for U.S. Senate in the State of Utah to fill a seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. Romney is a household name in Utah because of his past political endeavors, his Mormon faith, and his leadership of the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; he was elected to the Senate by a wide margin.
On New Year’s Day, Romney—who had not yet been sworn in to his new office—penned a Washington Post op-ed asserting that President Donald Trump has failed to display the character needed for his office. The op-ed sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C. and the nation, as it is nearly unheard-of for a newly-elected U.S. senator to reprimand a president who shares his or her political party affiliation. In the op-ed, Romney said:
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation… A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect… 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.
Romney went on add that he would “‘speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.'” The op-ed led to widespread speculation about whether Sen. Romney will challenge President Trump in a Republican primary in 2020, although Romney denies having any intention of doing so.
Christians who take an interest in national politics may have diverse reactions to Sen. Romney’s words. Some may disagree with the Senator, believing that President Trump’s bluntness and toughness are what the country needs and that Sen. Romney’s op-ed showed disloyalty to a fellow Republican. Others may share Sen. Romney’s perspective about the President’s character and commend the Senator for having the courage to speak out against a member of his own party. Still others may question Sen. Romney’s timing and motives, wondering why the Senator sought a position in the Trump Cabinet in 2016 if he found the President to be objectionable. Finally, others may believe that Sen. Romney has a valid point, but that his concerns should have been aired with the President directly and privately.