Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE tore into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Monday after Trump challenged the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, calling Trump’s behavior “disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.”
Romney’s comments came hours after Trump held a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in which he questioned whether Russia was behind efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.
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“President Trump’s decision to side with Putin over American intelligence agencies is disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles,” Romney, who is running for Senate in Utah, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
My statement on today’s summit in Helsinki. pic.twitter.com/WSxFGDKMau
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 16, 2018
“Russia remains our number one geopolitical adversary; claiming a moral equivalence between the United States and Russia not only defies reason and history, it undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility.”
Romney’s statement was one of several GOP rebukes of Trump’s performance at the press conference.
Romney had taken a noticeably softer approach to the president in recent months after being fiercely critical during the real estate mogul’s 2016 presidential bid.
Trump has offered Romney his endorsement in his bid to replace the retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchBottom line Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah).
Trump’s comments on Monday, however, drew criticism from across the political spectrum, with both Republicans and Democrats criticizing him for failing to say whether Russia interfered in the election and casting doubt on his own intelligence community, while standing next to Putin.
“They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said, adding that he does not “see any reason why it would be” Russia.