Senator Mitt Romney implicitly slammed President Donald Trump and his approach toward specific leaders like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, adding that both of them “deserve censure rather than flattery,” The Hill reported.
The Utah Republican made the remarks as part of his speech at a conservative think tank in Salt Lake City, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune.
According to the newspaper, Romney did not say the President’s name in his comments.
“I think demonstrating personal character is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader of the land,” Romney said, according to the Tribune.
Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, has been a more outspoken critic of Trump since joining the Senate this year, including pushing back on various policy proposals and going after the President’s character.
Trump has faced criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for his handling of Russia and North Korea, with critics saying he has failed to take a strong enough stance on the countries’ human rights abuses.
The President has at times spoken in glowing terms about the potential for a relationship between the U.S. and Russia, a connection strained by Moscow’s hacking during the 2016 election that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
Trump has voiced optimism about efforts to get North Korea to denuclearize and has appeared in photos with the isolated country’s leader. He held a pair of summits with Kim, though the second failed to produce any deal.
During his speech Monday, Romney described himself as “a renegade Republican” while blasting several leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
“I am aligned with the Republican conservative philosophy and believe that our Democratic friends are taking us in a very different direction, which would be most unfortunate to our future,” he said.
He specifically knocked high-profile progressive proposals such as “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal, which several 2020 candidates have backed.
Romney acknowledged during his speech at the Sutherland Institute that his “slice of Republican Party these days is about that big” as he spaced his hands closely together, the Tribune reported. He added that he’s not “100 percent sold on everything my current party’s establishment is doing.”
Romney most recently criticized Trump after the President suggested he would be open to receiving opposition research about his 2020 opponents from foreign governments.
Romney said the notion is “unthinkable,” adding that it is “totally inappropriate, and it would strike at the heart of our democracy.”