Utah Senate candidate Mitt Romney said Monday he would not point to President Donald Trump to serve as a role model for his grandchildren, doubling down on past criticisms of the president after pledging last month to not to look “backward” at his previous stinging Trump rebukes.
During an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday on MSNBC, the former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee criticized Trump over his “personal style,” casting some of his remarks as “not entirely appropriate” while offering general praise for the president’s policy achievements.
“I don’t think that I would point to the president as a role model for my grandkids on the basis of his personal style,” said Romney, who is currently vying to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah. “He has departed in some cases from the truth and has attacked in a way that I think is not entirely appropriate.”
Romney, who lost the 2012 general election to former President Barack Obama, was a fierce and outspoken critic of Trump on the 2016 campaign trail, blasting him as a “phony” and a “fraud” in a scathing speech at the University of Utah prior to the president clinching the Republican Party’s nomination. But Romney has taken a more measured approach on Trump since reentering the political fray and announcing his candidacy for the Utah Senate seat in February.
In April, the former governor was asked during a community event in Utah whether he, as a candidate, would give another speech criticizing the president. Romney replied that he intended to focus on the future.
“I look forward. I’m not going to look backward,” Romney said, according to the Deseret News.
Romney’s political gymnastics on Trump were on full display Monday as the candidate offered praise for the president’s accomplishments while admonishing his public comments.
“I believe his policies have been by and large a good deal better than I might have expected,” Romney said. “But some of the things he’s said are not ones that I would aspire for my grandkids to adopt.”
Romney, who served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, has 18 grandchildren.
Romney on Tuesday will face off against Michael Kennedy, his Republican primary opponent for the Utah Senate seat, in a debate. Utah voters will cast ballots on who will run to replace Hatch in the primary on June 26.