Utah US Senate candidate Mitt Romney said he would not point to his party’s leader, President Donald Trump, as a role model for his grandchildren, citing his “personal style.”
“He has departed in some cases from the truth and has attacked in a way that I think is not entirely appropriate,” Romney said in an interview with NBC News Monday.
Walking a political tightrope with his answer, Romney went to say, “I believe his policies have been by and large a good deal better than I might have expected. But some of the things he said are not ones that I would aspire for my grandkids to adopt.”
In the same interview, however, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee praised Trump for exceeding his expectations on tax and regulatory policy.
“Where the President is right in my view on policy for Utah and for the country, I’ll be with him,” Romney told NBC news.
He added, “But if the President were to say something which is highly divisive, or racist, or misogynistic, well, I’ll call him out on it, because I think it’s important for people to know exactly where one stands.”
Romney’s comments mark the latest instance in which he’s publicly criticized Trump.
During the 2016 campaign, Romney delivered a scathing rebuke of Trump in a speech in which he called the Republican candidate a “phony” and a bully, and criticized his rhetoric about Muslims and Mexican immigrants. Trump retaliated by mocking Romney’s 2012 presidential loss and said he was “begging” for his endorsement during that time.
But after Trump won the presidency, Romney was briefly considered for the position of secretary of state and the two were even photographed having dinner together.
Over the past year, Romney has spoken out less forcefully against Trump. He called on Trump to apologize for his comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, condemned Trump’s reported remark that he referred to African nations as “s***hole” countries and appeared to take a swipe at the Trump administration’s immigration policies in his Senate campaign announcement video.
But in February, the President endorsed Romney for Senate, saying Romney would make a “great Senator and worthy successor” to retiring Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Romney faces off against his Republican opponent, Utah Rep. Michael Kennedy, in Tuesday night’s debate at Brigham Young University.